Our expert says:
Most of the research that was done on raised cholesterol levels and the associated increased risk of heart disease was done long, long before any pharmaceutical company had produced cholesterol-lowering medications such as statins. You also need to keep in mind that research over the past 50 years has identified many other and more complex facets of heart disease, such as the various types of cholesterol (HDL-, LDL- and VLDL-cholesterol) and the apo-lipoproteins, plus triglycerides that all play a role in heart disease. Our knowledge of what causes heart disease has expanded to such an extent that we now know that the following dietary factors are all implicated: a) total cholesterol intake, b) total fat intake, c) saturated fat intake, d) trans-fatty acid intake, e) lack of protective antioxidants, dietary fibre and phytochemicals, f) excessive intakes of refined carbohydrates (high-GI) and sugars such as fructose g) lack of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids - the list goes on and on. In addition there are other factors that play a vital role such as genetic predisposition and an inactive lifestyle, obesity and high homocysteine levels. The first line of treatment for heart conditions consists of a diet, increased exercise and weight loss. If the patient does NOT respond to this regimen, it is a good idea to have genetic tests done to determine if the patient has a genetic predisposition to elevated blood fats levels and if this is the case, to then turn to medications to control lipid levels. So this is a highly complex field that cannot be solved by one simple solution.
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