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Ed Yeates ReportingA Utah study released today has documented a new kind of marker that identifies an increased risk of dying from heart disease. The dramatic findings were presented today before hundreds of cardiologists meeting in Orlando, Florida.
Out of all the markers physicians now look for in a blood test to identify the risk for the beginnings of heart disease, this new marker may be the most specific yet.
Jeffrey Anderson, M.D./Cardiology, LDS Hospital: "But this test is unique in that it travels right with the bad actor - the LDL cholesterol - and it doesn't go elsewhere in the body. It acts directly on that LDL cholesterol to break it up into toxic components."
For people trying to do everything they can to avoid heart disease or a heart attack, this enzyme marker, called LPPL-A2, raises a very early red flag physicians can quickly act on.
Dr. Anderson: "This marker, if it's high, will indicate to us that we need to be very aggressive in treating the risk factors. If it is low, then we can say diet, exercise - come back and see me in six months or a year."
How accurate is this new marker? The LDS Hospital study, which followed 1400 people with coronary disease, says it's a much better yardstick for physicians trying to evaluate actual risk. For example, at higher levels it doubles the risk of dying from coronary heart disease over a period of three years.
Sobering? Yes! But even then there's still enough time to intervene and stop it before it happens.
One pharmaceutical company is already working on a new drug that will inhibit this enzyme so it doesn't break up the bad cholesterol into toxic compounds.