Low Cholesterol = Healthy Heart?

A 2012 study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that America’s collective cholesterol levels are going down.  The study, which focused on data from 1988 through 2010, examined total cholesterol numbers as well as LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in adults.

The data showed a small but significant reduction in both total cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol levels. However, the study also noted that the number of cholesterol-lowering drugs rose in that same time period.

Whether that means our country is moving in the right direction toward better heart health is up for discussion. Cholesterol levels are certainly a factor in cardiovascular disease prevention, but recent studies like this one show that over 50% of heart attacks and strokes occur in individuals with normal cholesterol levels.

Many of the other factors contributing to risk for cardiovascular disease can be found right in a seemingly unlikely place: the mouth. Inflammation due to genetic predisposition and microbial burden has been shown to significantly increase risk for vascular events such as heart attack and stroke.

In order to truly prevent heart attacks and strokes, medical and dental teams need work together to address all of the factors.


Trends in Lipids and Lipoproteins in US Adults, 1988-2010
Most Heart Attack Patients’ Cholesterol Levels Did Not Indicate Cardiac Risk