Men’s Health Series Part 2: Elevated Cholesterol Doesn’t always Mean Elevated Risk for Health Disease

raditionally, we have been told that elevated cholesterol levels put us at risk for heart attack, stroke and diabetic complications. Standard Cholesterol testing looks at triglycerides, LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). With these values, we typically predict those with a higher amount of HDL (takes the cholesterol out of the body) and lower amount of LDL (putting cholesterol into the body), have a lower risk of heart disease and vice versa.

A newer testing method, LPP, looks at the actual size of the LDL cholesterol molecules; the real risk factor! These LDL particles can be described as either small LDL or large LDL particles. Small LDL particles are associated with increased risk as they can  easily enter the blood vessel walls and start atherosclerosis or plaques; large LDL particles don’t. What does this mean? It means elevated LDL cholesterol doesn’t always spell out heart troubles; the type does! Interestingly, even individuals with normal cholesterol levels need to look at the size of their particles to reveal any hidden risk factors. Let me explain how it works.

Two patients with the same LDL cholesterol values can have different risk scores. Lets say Patient A’s blood sample contains four small, hard pellet LDL and one large grape-sized LDL.The large-grape sized one will bounce off the wall while the four hard pellets will stick; causing a plaque. While patient B has three large grape sized LDL and only one small hard pellet LDL; only one pellet will stick.  Patient B is less at risk even though they have the same LDL cholesterol values.

Who should get an LPP test?

Patients with normal standard cholesterol results who:

1. Have a family history of heart disease or diabetes

2. Have been diagnosed with heart disease or diabetes

3. Are already taking cholesterol-lowering medications

4. Have been diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome

5. Are overweight

And patients with:

High triglycerides, low HDL or High LDL

Why is this information important? Could you be on a statin drug unnecessarily due to your conventional medical test results? This information gives you not only the knowledge to decide if you need to remain on statin drugs but help us tailor a naturopathic treatment plan to address your individual needs.

At A New Leaf Natruopathic Clinic, we offer a Basic or Comprehensive Lipid Panel to get the real story of your cholesterol numbers. It is a simple blood test drawn in the comfort of our clinic from Monday to Saturday.

To book an appointment at 604-5148555.

In health,

Dr. Susan Steeves, BSc.Diet, ND.