Lowering LDL cholesterol is important in preventing strokes and heart attacks, but lowering LDL cholesterol may not be enough. Sometimes, people with near-normal LDL cholesterol still suffer heart attacks.
It now appears that the size of one's LDL cholesterol particles may be as important as the level of LDL cholesterol. Small LDL cholesterol particles can more easily penetrate artery walls and form plaques than larger ones. People who have small LDL cholesterol particles have a higher risk of developing arteriosclerosis and heart attacks than those who have larger ones.
While the size of one's LDL cholesterol particles is in large part inherited, one can help enlarge them through diet and exercise.
Failing these measures, medications such as nicotinic acid and gemfibrozil have been found effective in increasing the size of LDL cholesterol particles.
For more information, please visit our Cholesterol Center