The epidemic of small LDL

Of the patients I saw in my office yesterday, virtually EVERYONE had small LDL.

Small LDL is emerging as an extraordinarily prevalent lipoprotein pattern that drives coronary plaque growth. Previous estimates have put small LDL as affecting only 20-30% of people with coronary disease. However, in my experience in the last few years, I would estimate that greater than 80% of people with measurable coronary plaque have small LDL.

If you have a heart scan score >zero, chances are you have it, too.

I call small LDL a "modern" disease because it has skyrocketed in prevalence recently because of the great surge in inactivity in Americans.

When's the last time you walked to the grocery store and back, lugging two bags of groceries? How many years has it been since you've push-mowed your lawn? All the small conveniences of life have permeated further and further into our activities. Most of us spend the great majority of our day right where you are now--on your duff.

On the bright side, small LDL in most people is reducable by simply getting up and going. But the old teaching of 30 minutes of activity per day is now outdated. This was true when the other hours of your life included physical activities, like housework or a moderately active job. However, if the other 23 1/2 hours of your day are sedentary, then 30 minutes a day won't do it. An hour or more of activity, whether exercise or physical labor of some variety will get you better small LDL-suppressing results.

For most people with small LDL, fish oil and niacin are also necessary to fully suppress small LDL to the Track Your Plaque goal of <10 mg/dl.