Plaque Rupturing Cholesterol

Last October, Dr. Jung San Huang of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine determined that cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis; i.e. artery plaque. Reuters was on it:
Cholesterol is known to promote plaque build-up in blood vessels, which raises the risk of heart attack, and other cardiovascular problems. Now, new research suggests that cholesterol does this by reducing the activity of a chemical called transforming growth factor (TGF-beta).


"The finding that cholesterol causes atherosclerosis (plaques) by attenuating TGF-beta responsiveness in...cells could lead to the development of novel and effective therapies for atherosclerosis," senior investigator Dr. Jung San Huang told Reuters Health.
I know, not exactly new news, but important nonetheless. Now, get this. New research claims that total cholesterol is linked to the risk of plaque rupture. More from Reuters:
In individuals without symptoms who have thickened walls of the carotid arteries, two major arteries located on each side of the neck that provide blood and oxygen to the brain, the total blood levels of cholesterol are strongly associated with the presence a lipid, or fat-based," core within plaque, which have a vulnerability to rupture, researchers report.


"We know that a lipid core, made up of fatty dead tissue deposits, within an atherosclerotic plaque puts the plaque at risk for causing an adverse clinical event, such as a stroke if the plaque is in the carotid artery or a heart attack if the plaque is in the coronary artery," lead investigator Dr. Bruce A. Wasserman told Reuters Health.

To identify factors associated with a lipid core, Wasserman of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, and colleagues examined subjects taking part in a study of atherosclerosis, also referred to as hardening of the arteries. All of the subjects were free of cardiovascular disease and were among participants with the thickest carotid artery walls, as determined by ultrasound.
Okay, here’s a no-brainer—lower cholesterol! Not sure how? Dr. Fuhrman offers up some advice for getting your cholesterol down. Check it out:
A vegetable, fruit, nut, and bean-based diet has been shown to be the most effective cholesterol-lowering dietary approach in medical history. This newsworthy data with the potential to save millions of lives has been ignored by the mass media. With this dietary approach, most patients drop their total cholesterol below 150 and LDL below 100, without the need for medications. In areas of the world where people eat a diet of unrefined plant foods, people have total cholesterol levels below 150, and there is zero incidence of heart disease in the population1…


…The dietary program I recommend for heart-disease reversal utilizes natural cholesterol-lowering therapies instead of drugs, which eliminates the risks of drug side effects. And because my dietary program is richer in fiber and nutrients than the typical vegetarian diet, my patients achieve spectacular reductions in cholesterol, body weight, and blood pressure. Fortunately, this approach also can help those who already have heart disease. They can avoid future heart attacks and reverse and remove atherosclerosis.
And trust me, not only is Dr. Fuhrman’s approach effective—it’s delicious! Oh, and for more on cholesterol, don’t forget about Wednesday’s post Low Cholesterol and Cancer-Risk.
1. Breslow JL. Cardiovascular disease myths and facts. Cleve Clin J Med 1998:65(6):286-287. Campbell TC, Parpia B, Chen J. et al. Diet, lifestyle and the etiology of coronary artery disease: the Cornell China Study. Am J Cardiol 1998; 8210B):18T-21T.
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