High Cholesterol: Far More Dangerous Than We Knew

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Discover Magazine – Most of us know that high levels of “bad” cholesterol in our blood can increase our risk of developing cardio vascular problems.

Now, a new study gives us another reason to keep cholesterol levels in check:

High cholesterol may also play a role in the development of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

This rare form of dementia can strike people between their mid-30s and mid-60s.

Previous studies have linked early-onset Alzheimer’s to problematic genetic mutations, but these risk factors only explained about 10 percent of cases.

That left the vast majority of early-onset Alzheimer’s cases a mystery. But new research published this week in JAMA Neurology may provide some answers.

A team of researchers at the Atlanta VA Medical Center and Emory University has linked early onset-Alzheimer’s to elevated levels of LDL cholesterol — or low-density lipoproteins, which is sometimes called the “bad” type of cholesterol.

Researchers say that people in their study with high levels of LDL cholesterol were more likely to have early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those with lower cholesterol levels.

LDL cholesterol is a type of fat in the blood that can build up in arteries. Over time, these plaques can narrow arteries and increase the risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular problems.

But healthy cholesterol levels may be important for brain health, too.

Previous studies have linked high cholesterol to an increased risk of developing the more common, late-onset form of Alzheimer’s … Read more. 

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