This is something that really grinds my gears. Every day we have someone posting in the facebook group about how their LDL is up and their doctor is putting the fear of god into them and telling them their heart will explode if they don’t get on a statin ASAP!
Here is a study that really makes me fume.
Here are the parts that really get me:
1. The general consensus for a health LDL level is:
– Less than 160 if you have less than 2 other risk factors (family history/diabetes/etc)
– Less than 130 with 2 or more risk factors
– Less than 100 if you have had a prior event (heart attack)
Now if you look at the data, the average LDL score was 104. Well below the normal range. Furthermore, if you look at the study they show that half of all admissions had LDL less than 100! What is more telling is that more than half of the admission had less than 40mg/DL of HDL when the optimum level is more like 50.
2. If you look at the below chart you will see the vast majority of all events occurred in those with LDL of less than 160mg/DL which is the acceptable level. Here in Canada we don’t even discuss LDL when it is below 190mg/DL Why? Is US LDL more dangerous than Canadian LDL? This is suspicious at best.
Even beyond that, look at the highest level. People that have 220mg/DL have a far less chance of heart attack than those that have levels well below the 70mg/LD level. 10 fold less chance. If LDL is causal how does this data explain that?
3. The take away from this was that LDL targets are too high!
What? How on gods green earth does that make sense? Looking again at the chart above you can see that this doesn;t make sense. People with LDL of 200 had the same rate of heart attack as those with 30mg/DL! What good does lowing LDL more do? Clearly nothing. The only thing that I can gather here is that you want to have 30 or below or 200 or higher and you are good to go. How does that make LDL a valuable marker for anything? It doesn’t. This is nothing but straw grasping and an attempt to increase statin drug sales. It is clear.
Study after study mimics these same results. People have all ranges of LDL and still have heart attacks yet there are a few commonalities. They all have low HDL and higher triglycerides. This is a sign of inflammation. Inflammation causes heart attacks not LDL.
If LDL was causal then the charts would look much different. They would look like this:
At the end of the day does it make any sense looking at this report that we can use LDL as a marker for health. It makes far more sense that risk is more associated with inflammation and most importantly, high glucose and insulin levels. These are causing the damage and LDL is just doing it’t job by bringing cholesterol to fix the problems.
Like blaming fire fighters for fires because they are at the scene. This needs to end.
One last example to show that LDL is not a cause. Familial Hypercholesterolemia.
Before the rise of processed food and sugar consumption these people lived just as long or longer than anyone else and the have the highest level of LDL of anyone. Today they tend to have the highest risk of CVD but that is only correlated in with people that are overweight and diabetic. If you look at the population of fit and healthy people with FH they see a similar risk profile to anyone else. More over, they tend to have a higher survival rate when they do have heart attacks.
This is an article I wrote that discusses this in more detail and has 2 studies linked.
If these people were not at risk before and still don’t seem to be at risk if they are not diabetic or overweight then LDL has no relevance. It is the inflammation.
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