Study finds cutting cholesterol to level of newborn babies reduces heart attack risk

Study finds cutting cholesterol to level of newborn babies reduces heart attack risk

Cutting cholesterol right back to the levels we were born with reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes by a third, a study in England has shown.

Scientists made the discovery after analysing data from more than 5,000 people taking part in trials of a super-powerful cholesterol-lowering therapy.

The results showed that cutting blood cholesterol to less than 50 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) - the level of a newborn baby - had a major impact on the health of individuals already suffering from heart disease or at high risk of the condition.

Over a period of up to two years, the treatment lowered the risk of heart attack, stroke or fatal heart disease by about a third.

For every 39mg/dL reduction in the harmful form of cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL), the risk fell by 24%.

Lead researcher Professor Kausik Ray, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: "Experts have been uncertain whether very low cholesterol levels are harmful, or beneficial. This study suggests not only are they safe, but they also reduce risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke."

All the patients, with an average age of 60, had previously been diagnosed with high cholesterol, and many were slightly overweight.

They had an average cholesterol reading of 125 mg/dL and most were taking cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. Just over half were also undergoing treatment with a new injected drug, alirocumab, to reduce their cholesterol levels further.

Some patients find their cholesterol levels cannot be kept under control by statins alone, possibly because they carry a faulty gene.

Combining statins with alirocumab caused cholesterol levels to drop to below 50mg/dL, a reduction that would be impossible without medication.

Prof Ray added: "This study not only confirms that LDL can trigger heart problems, but also suggests reducing it in adults to very low levels - to those of a newborn baby - is both safe and beneficial."

Longer term data is now needed to see if the beneficial effects continue, he said.

The study, published in the journal Circulation, was funded by the international drug company Sanofi and US biotech firm Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.

More in this Section

Air quality sinks to ‘severe’ in haze-shrouded New DelhiAir quality sinks to ‘severe’ in haze-shrouded New Delhi

Australia wildfires burn as residents warned there is no time left to fleeAustralia wildfires burn as residents warned there is no time left to flee

Tory and Lib Dems election candidates in hot water over controversial comments Tory and Lib Dems election candidates in hot water over controversial comments

Police fire tear gas as Hong Kong protesters disrupt peak hour trainsPolice fire tear gas as Hong Kong protesters disrupt peak hour trains


Lifestyle

The Cosmetify Index reveals the cosmetics companies that are generating the most buzz online – and Dubai-based Huda Kattan has the top spot.Huda Beauty tops the 10 ‘most popular’ beauty brands this year

Read the script of Kya deLongchamps’ kitchen-sink drama to set the scene to make an informed choice when selecting this home essentialTake the plunge: Read this checklist before you splash out on your new kitchen sink

SOMETIMES, the journey is more important than the destination. And sometimes, we just want to sit at home eating a bag of jelly beans, while thinking about more jelly beans. Life is only as significant or special as we make it.GameTech: Death Stranding is a divisive, beautiful journey packaged in a cool world

Former Oasis drummer Tony McCarroll tells Richard Purden about the mad times when five Manc-Irish lads became one of the biggest rock bands in the worldNot looking back in anger: Former Oasis drummer looks back at the mad times of one of the biggest rock bands in the world

More From The Irish Examiner