Given the current guidelines for getting your LDL as low as possible to reduce heart disease risk you would naturally expect that when patients are wheeled into hospitals for Coronary Heart Disease ailments such as heart attacks or angina attacks, their LDL levels would on average be rather high. If we looked at a thousand such patients what percentage would you expect to have LDL levels above 2.6 mmol ?. Maybe 60% or perhaps 70%, surely it has got to be above 50% given that we are advised to get our levels below 3 mmol. Well according to a large study done on nearly 137,000 hospitalisations in America for CAD symptoms it was only 50.4%. Taking only those who were admitted for the first time for CAD symptoms did not really change the underlying message that much.
The other interesting thing is that when you talk to cholesterol advocates about the stats showing that low cholesterol means greater all risk of dying ie from all causes, they tend to shout reverse causation. What they mean by this is that disease, including heart attacks, tend to lower cholesterol levels thus giving a false low impression of cholesterol levels on death. Would this really skew the results shown in the study to the degree shown ? and if it did move the spread you would still have less people in the higher ranges of LDL than the lower ranges maintaining the underlying message in the study that more people are coming in with ‘low’ LDL than ‘high’. The real culprits within the data seem to be low HDL and high Trig’s.