Lipoproteins – The Real Cause of Heart Disease

Over 50% of people with  “normal cholesterol”  still develop heart attacks.


Lipoproteins, not cholesterol, cause heart disease.  Lipoproteins are the carriers that transport cholesterol through the blood.  Some lipoproteins cause cholesterol to penetrate

the artery wall more easily, causing the artery to clog.  These lipoprotein plaques become inflamed and rupture, causing a heart attack.   Lipoproteins come in different sizes and types.

Three types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol:

HDL    (high density lipoproteins)

LDL     (low density lipoproteins)

VLDL  (very low density lipoproteins)

HDL particles, especially large ones, are considered the good cholesterol, or lipoprotein.

They help clean out the artery wall, reverse the blockages and carry cholesterol back to the liver.  The liver then places the cholesterol into the bile, and it flushes out with the bowel movement.  Large HDL particles are your arteries vacuum cleaner.  If all of your HDL particles are small, it is a sign that your artery vacuum cleaner is not working.  Therefore, your artery continues to build up plaque and becomes more diseased.

LDL particles deliver cholesterol to your cells.  Your cells need cholesterol to make cell membrane.  Cholesterol makes your cell waterproof.  Water does not penetrate fat.  If LDL particles are small , they penetrate the artery wall more readily, causing damaging plaque.   If the LDL particles are large, they cannot penetrate the artery wall.  Therefore, no damaging plaque occurs.   Also, the smaller the LDL delivery truck or particle, the more you need to carry your cholesterol.

More than 1300 LDL particles per liter of blood, increases your heart attack and death rate.  The “number” of LDL particles and “size” of your LDL and HDL particles determine your heart disease risk.

Measuring your cholesterol as we traditionally do  (Total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol)  tells you almost nothing.  Treating your cholesterol with cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) without measuring your LDL size and the number of particles of cholesterol first, is foolish.    It might be the standard of care, but it is foolish and does not give you the correct indication of heart disease risk.

If you want to know your “real” cholesterol risk, measure the “right” thing – the blood test that tells you something, not just your total cholesterol.

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