Monday, February 23, 2015

Did my LDL particles get larger?

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)l, commonly called the "bad cholesterol",  is linked with high risk of heart disease. But just the total mass of LDL doesn't tell the whole story.

The size of the particles matters too. In particular, small dense LDL particles are the ones that cause atherosclerotic plaques to form in your arteries. I have lots of small dense particles. I realized the other day that I could calculate the average particle mass by taking the ratio of two of the numbers reported on my detailed lab results.
7/21/2014 10/25/2014
LDL mass [mg/dL] 221* 129
LDL particle # [nmol/L] 3500 2636
average particle mass [mg / nmol] 0.63 0.49

So the statin I started taking in August is reducing LDL mass as it should. Particle number is also decreasing, very good. But the particles are getting smaller on average, not good. I actually don't know for sure how many particles I had in July 2014, because on the lab report it just says > 3500. So it could still be that my average particle size is not getting worse, if my actual particle count was higher than ~4200 nmol/L. Regardless, that's just ridiculously high.

*EDIT 3/8/2015 -- I had the wrong numbers in this table; I mistakenly used the Total Cholesterol mass. I've updated with the LDL-C, and reached the same conclusion. 

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