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Angella
11th July 2012, 12:50 AM
Instead of looking just at the cholesterol numbers, we need to look at the cholesterol particle size. The real question is: Do you have small or large HDL or LDL particles. Small, dense particles are more atherogenic (more likely to cause the plaque in the arteries that leads to heart attacks), than large buoyant, fluffy cholesterol particles. Small particles are associated with pre-diabetes (or metabolic syndrome) and diabetes and are caused by insulin resistance. Recent research indicates that statins may actually increase diabetes.

While measuring cholesterol particle size is a simple blood test that can be done at Labcorp, most doctors do not look at it, even though it is the only meaningful way to evaluate cholesterol numbers. You can have a LDL cholesterol that looks normal, like Jim did at 101, but you may have over 1000 small LDL particles which are very dangerous. On the other hand, you can have the same LDL number of 101, and it may be made up of only 400 large particles which cause no real health risk. Your health risk has less to do with your cholesterol numbers than it does the quantity and size of your cholesterol particles.

Again, we can take Jim as an example. His cholesterol particles were all small and dense because he had severe pre-diabetes. This is also not hard to diagnose. Jim was obese at 285 pounds with a BMI (body mass index) of 36. You are considered obese if your BMI is greater than 30. His waist-to-hip ratio was 1.04 (normal is less than 0.9 for men). He had very high insulin and blood sugar levels after we gave him a test drink of glucose (sugar). All this added up to tell us he had severe pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome. As I mentioned before, he also had high triglycerides and low HDL—another clue that he had metabolic syndrome. We also found he had very low testosterone and growth hormone, further symptoms of pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Jim reported that despite working with a trainer he kept losing muscle and he was always hungry. This is why.

Let me reiterate: These are measurements and tests that can be done in any doctor’s office, but are rarely done. These are not esoteric or expensive labs that can only be done at specialty clinics.

The condition that Jim suffered from, metabolic syndrome, is the most common medical condition in America, but the most rarely diagnosed. It affects over half the population. It is the major cause of heart disease, diabetes, and aging, and it is one of the major causes of dementia and cancer, not to mention infertility and sexual dysfunction. Yet it is mostly ignored by doctors. Why? The answer is simple and tragic: There are no drugs to treat it effectively, and doctors tend to focus on what they can treat with medications, even if it is the wrong target. This is one of the reasons statins are so popular in America despite the vast research against them.
source - Mark Hyman, MD