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Lower Cholesterol Absorption, Lower Heart Attack Risk

Mortality risk in elderly heart patients increases with cholestanol-to-cholesterol ratio levels

TUESDAY, Aug. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Lower cholesterol absorption spells reduced heart attack risk for the elderly, researchers report in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Timo E. Strandberg, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Oulu in Oulu, Finland, and colleagues studied the relationship between cholesterol absorption levels, death and heart attack risk in 247 women and 129 men aged 75 or older who had cardiovascular disease and were living at home.

The researchers found mortality risk increased with escalating cholestanol-to-cholesterol ratio levels. Patients in the second quartile ran 2.54 times the relative mortality risk of those in the lowest quartile. Although half of those in the lowest cholestanol quartile had metabolic syndrome or diabetes, the relative mortality risk increased to 3.53 in the fourth quartile.

The lowest quartile of cholestanol-to-cholesterol ratios had a lower mortality risk and fewer major cardiovascular events, the researchers report. But baseline serum total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels did not forecast death or cardiovascular events.

"Low cholesterol absorption was associated with fewer recurrent cardiovascular events, and with better survival in elderly patients despite frequent abnormalities of glucose metabolism," the authors write.

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