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Homocysteine an amino acid is a major culprit in the process of atherosclerosis and heart attack. So get your homocysteine levels checked

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 Cholesterol

Cholesterol, Oxidised LDL and CHD

High on the list is high lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) as a major risk factor in CHD. It is widely accepted by the medical profession that high lipid levels are associated with coronary heart disease.

Precipitation of cholesterol starts at the early age of ten. It blocks the arteries and reduces their elasticity hence hardening of the arteries and atherosclerosis. When we are young our body seem to manage to keep cholesterol at a normal range. On the other hand as we hit forty it is much harder to keep cholesterol down, and this is usually the time when some people start having angina. The fact is that cholesterol on its own is an antioxidant and necessary for the production of sex hormones. The problem is not cholesterol but oxidised LDL-cholesterol.

Good and bad cholesterol

Cholesterol is of two types: good cholesterol or HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) and bad cholesterol or LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein). HDL is good because it gets rid of the bad cholesterol. LDL is very much needed in hormone production within the endocrine system such as thyroid, adrenal and pituitary glands. As much as medicine has placed importance on lowering LDL, it has neglected to look at the main biochemical mechanism of why LDL likes to adhere itself to- the arterial wall in the first place. The reality is that pure LDL is not totally as bad as it is labelled. The problem is that when it becomes oxidised as a result of free radical damage it becomes unstable and dangerous. The key in developing arterial damage is oxidised or peroxidised LDL.

Free radicals steal one electron from LDL and hence LDL becomes peroxidised. Peroxidised LDL is unstable and has an uneven electrical charge and that makes it to stick to the inner lining of the arteries called intima.

Cigarette smoke and diabetes add to peroxidation of LDL by producing more free radicals.

The key to prevention of CHD is the inhibition of LDL peroxidation and hence reducing the risk of atherosclerosis.

The key to prevention of LDL peroxidation is antioxidant therapy.

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