Higher levels of lead and other heavy metals detected in the blood was associated with increased levels of lower density lipoprotein (LDL -- bad cholesterol) and total cholesterol, according to preliminary research to be presented in Chicago at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2018, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.
Researchers reviewed information from NHANES 2009-2012, a national representative database which includes cholesterol levels and blood levels of heavy metals among U.S. adults. They found a notable difference between those with the least blood levels of heavy metal and those with the most, with LDL becoming progressively higher as lead levels increased.
Compared with those who had the lowest levels of a metal, those with the highest:
In addition, mercury levels increased the odds for higher LDL by 23 percent among those who fell in the middle for their heavy metal levels, compared to those with the lowest level. The rise in cholesterol seen with increasing heavy metal levels in the blood might have cardiovascular consequences in people exposed to heavy metals, such as in areas with disaster water crises. This suggests the need for screening for heavy metals as a risk for high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, the authors noted.
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