scientists find links between lesser-known cholesterol and heart disease risk in older people

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Heart attacks and heart diseases are the leading causes of death worldwide. Among these, Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is a big culprit.

It happens when the blood vessels going to your heart get blocked by fat and other stuff. Think of it like a clogged pipe. Usually, doctors will look at your levels of “bad cholesterol” to figure out your risk for CHD.

Most of us have heard about “bad cholesterol” or LDL, and some may even know about “good cholesterol” or HDL.

What many don’t know is another type of “bad cholesterol” called Lp(a), and it’s making news for all the wrong reasons.

What the Latest Research Says

A new study from Australia now says that seniors, people who are 60 or older, who have already had some type of heart disease, are more likely to have another heart-related issue if they have high levels of this lesser-known Lp(a).

Leon Simons, a top professor at the University of New South Wales Sydney, led the research. He and his team looked at 607 older Australians for a whopping 16 years.

These folks had already been through some heart problems. What they found is worth paying attention to.

Those who had another heart problem had higher average levels of Lp(a) compared to those who didn’t. Over a quarter of those who faced another heart issue had really high levels of Lp(a).

If you had Lp(a) in the top 20% of all the people in the study, you had a 53% higher chance of having another heart problem.

Why This is a Game-Changer

The medicines usually given to lower bad cholesterol don’t do much for Lp(a). That’s why this study is important. It tells doctors to also check Lp(a) levels in older patients who have had heart problems before.

Plus, it gives a green light for creating new medicines specifically aimed at lowering Lp(a) to stop heart issues from coming back.

Prof. Simons is hopeful about new drugs that are in the late stages of testing right now. These drugs are specially designed to lower Lp(a) levels, and could be a new weapon in fighting repeat heart problems, especially in seniors.

The study does have its limits, like the fact that it started a long time ago, in the late ’80s. But it still tells us that high Lp(a) is likely to stay high and risky over time.

Wrapping It Up

Heart health is no joke, and now we know that it’s not just the well-known “bad cholesterol” we need to keep an eye on. For older folks, especially those who’ve had heart issues before, keeping tabs on Lp(a) could be a lifesaver.

And while current medicines may not be much help for high Lp(a), there’s hope on the horizon with new drugs that could change the game.

If you care about heart failure, please read studies about diabetes drug that could revolutionize heart failure treatment, and this drug can be a low-cost heart failure treatment.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies that exercise in middle age reversed worrisome heart failure, and results showing this drug combo can cut risk of stroke and heart attack by half.

The study was published in Current Medical Research and Opinion.

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