The myth of small LDL 28. June 2006 William Davis (1) Annie's doctor was puzzled.Despite an HDL cholesterol of 76 mg (spectacular!) and LDL of 82 mg, her CT heart scan showed a score of 135. At age 51, this placed her in the 90th percentile. Not as bad, perhaps, as her Dad might have had, since he died at age 54 of a heart attack. So we submitted blood for lipoprotein testing. Surprise! over 90% of all her LDL particles were small. (By NMR, they're called "small". By gel electropheresis, or the Berkeley Lab test, or VAP (Atherotech) technique, they're called "HDL3".)What gives? Traditional teaching in the lipid world is that if HDL equals or exceeds 40 mg/dl, then small LDL will simply not be present. Well, as you can see from Annie's experience, this is plain wrong. Yes, there is a graded, population-based effect--the lower your HDL, the greater the likelihood of small LDL. But small LDL is remarkably persistent and prevalent--regardless of your HDL.We've seen small LDL even with HDLs in the 90's! I call small LDL the "cockroach" of lipids. If you think you have it, you probably do. Getting rid of small LDL requires a specific bug killer. (Track Your Plaque Members: Read Dr. Tara Dall's interview on small LDL.) Don't let anybody blow off your request for lipoprotein testing just because your HDL is high. That's just not acceptable. Loads can be wrong even with a favorable HDL.