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Historical Event

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November 26, 1998

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Dr Castelli writes that "cholesterol levels by themselves reveal little about a patient's coronary artery disease risk" in the American Journal of Cardiology.





The new pathophysiology of coronary artery disease


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Our understanding of coronary artery disease risk and the atherosclerotic process has changed greatly in recent years. For example, it is now known that angiographically apparent coronary artery plaque is not the major cause of myocardial infarction (MI). Rather, it is unstable, soft plaque that cannot be seen angiographically that is prone to rupture and result in infarction. Also important are changes in vascular reactivity resulting from diet. Cholesterol levels by themselves reveal little about a patient's coronary artery disease risk. Most infarctions occur in patients who have normal total cholesterol levels. At-risk patients can be identified using the ratio of total-to-high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. The ratio of triglyceride to HDL cholesterol levels is also important. Simple steps to assess patients' risk in practice are outlined. Primary prevention trials demonstrate that coronary artery disease risk can be lowered dramatically with diet and drug therapy.

Topics: (click image to open)

Low Fat / Low Cholesterol Study
Heart Disease
Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, refers to a range of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. It is a broad term that encompasses various conditions, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, arrhythmias, and valvular heart diseases, among others. Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide.
Diet-Heart Hypothesis
The diet-heart hypothesis, also known as the lipid hypothesis, proposes that there is a direct relationship between dietary fat intake, particularly saturated fat and cholesterol, and the development of heart disease. It suggests that consuming high amounts of these fats leads to an increase in blood cholesterol levels, specifically low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which in turn contributes to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries. Some consider this hypothesis nothing more than wishful thinking.
Cholesterol is an animal based molecule that forms cell membranes. It's a lipid known as a sterol. Cholesterol is found in all animal foods and is healthy to eat, despite the opinions set forth by the diet-heart hypothesis. Lipoproteins carry cholesterol as well as other lipids.
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