Heart Disease Isn’t Always about Cholesterol

July 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Heart Disease

When it comes to heart disease, cholesterol is to blame – but only sometimes. Nowadays, several studies have shown that heart disease isn’t always about cholesterol, after all. Various questions have popped up regarding the correlation between cholesterol and heart disease, and now is the time to set the records straight.

Cholesterol does a lot of things to the body, one of which is protecting the damages done to the artery’s walls through the use of lipoproteins. In fact, cholesterol does this for all possible body wounds and can thus be classified as a life saver. What has linked cholesterol to the world of heart disease is its binding to the artery’s walls.

Cholesterol comes in two different forms: good cholesterol through high density lipoproteins (HDL) and bad cholesterol through low density lipoproteins (LDL). It is said that bad cholesterol can accumulate in the arteries, thus restricting the blood from flowing and stopping oxygen from flowing freely through the body. In turn, the heart muscles will suffer from malnourishment. It is recommended to eliminate as much bad cholesterol from your diet as can be done, in order to lower the LDL levels and prevent heart disease.

Recent theories show, however, the cholesterol isn’t the only one to blame in the world of heart disease. No real link has really been found between cholesterol from food and cholesterol levels in the blood. In some test groups, there were higher levels of cholesterol but lower incidences of heart disease. In China, there was no real correlation between cholesterol consumption and heart disease at all.

One study lasted for a decade and involved around five thousand people with high cholesterol levels. They were given a top statin drug to lower these levels, while another five thousand people with high cholesterol levels were given a proper diet and adequate exercise. Surprisingly, the statin drugs lowered the cholesterol but did nothing to lower heart disease risk factors. In fact, the testers were more prone to certain things, like liver disease. The diet and exercise group also got lower cholesterol; however, they also had improved heart disease risk factors, but they were still just as susceptible to heart disease as before.

Other cholesterol studies done around the world have also proved surprising. In Denmark, 20,000 people with heart disease were checked and most had normal cholesterol levels, so cholesterol could not be blamed for their heart disease. So far, no real proof has been given that cholesterol has anything to do in the heart disease world. This does not mean that cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease, but there are a lot of other changes you can do in our diet to lower heart disease risk factors, such as the reduction of trans- and saturated fats.

Studies are still ongoing to figure out how bad cholesterol really is. If your cholesterol levels are extremely high but you feel fine otherwise, get tested for heart disease. Chances are your arteries are free clear and completely fine. It would be smart to start leading a healthier lifestyle, however, with a new diet and less cholesterol intake. Your body makes enough cholesterol without your help.