Most Danes are aware that high cholesterol is life-threatening. But very few know which type of cholesterol is the most frequent killer. Cholesterol is divided into 'the good' HDL cholesterol, 'the bad' LDL cholesterol and 'the ugly' cholesterol. It is the so-called 'ugly cholesterol' – also called 'remnant-like particle cholesterol' – that is the really bad guy.
"LDL cholesterol or 'the bad' cholesterol' is of course bad, but our new study reveals that the ugly cholesterol is the direct cause of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) resulting in ischaemic heart disease and early death. By examining 73,000 persons, we found that an increase in the ugly cholesterol triples the risk of ischaemic heart disease, which is caused by lack of oxygen to the heart muscle due to narrowing or blocking of the coronary arteries," says Professor Børge Nordestgaard, chief physician at Herlev Hospital and Clinical Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Copenhagen.
"I hope that this new knowledge will lead to better preventive treatment, as more than one in five Danes suffers from high ugly cholesterol. We also hope that the pharmaceutical industry will develop new drugs targeted specifically at raised ugly cholesterol levels," he emphasises.
Widespread disease worldwide
In Denmark alone, 20,000 persons are diagnosed with ischaemic heart disease every year, and some 150,000 Danes are currently affected by the disease. According to World Health Organization estimates, 17 million people fall victim to cardiovascular disease – the most frequent cause of death in the world.
"High ugly cholesterol is the result of high blood levels of normal fat (triglycerides). The most important cause of high ugly cholesterol is overweight and obesity. Persons with high ugly cholesterol should therefore be advised to lose weight, but drugs such as statins and fibrates may also lower levels of ugly cholesterol in the blood," says Børge Nordestgaard.
Samples from 73,000 Danes with genetic defect
Anette Varbo, physician and PhD student at Herlev Hospital, has been part of the research team behind the new findings. She says that the findings shed light on a long-standing debate among researchers on the so-called triglyceride, arteriosclerosis and cholesterol.
"To be able to examine the correlation between ugly cholesterol and heart disease, we have used blood samples from persons having a genetic defect which means that they suffer from high ugly cholesterol their entire life. The research findings do therefore not depend on their lifestyle patterns in general. Unhealthy lifestyle factors such as smoking, fatty foods and overweight all increase the risk of heart disease, and the blood samples from persons having this genetic defect thus give the most accurate results," says Anette Varbo.
The scientific article is based on the following three population studies: the Herlev-Østerbro study, the Østerbro study and the Copenhagen heart study.
Facts about cholesterol:
Cholesterol is divided into 'the good' HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol, 'the bad' LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol and 'the ugly' cholesterol (or 'remnant-like particle cholesterol').If the levels of normal fat, triglyceride, in the blood are high, then the levels of ugly cholesterol are also high. This can be determined by a blood sample.
(Fact Sources: The Danish Heart Foundation and the medical compendium Medicinsk Kompendium)
Børge Nordestgaard | EurekAlert!
On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Information Technology
18.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation