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Enzyme reveals heart disease risk

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An enzyme carried in the blood with so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol has the same heart disease risk factor as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, a study has found.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) was associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and early death to a similar extent as other known factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

The potential threat posed by Lp-PLA2 has sparked interest about the potential for new drugs that block the enzyme, particularly in people prone to developing larger quantities of it through inflammation.

The study, published in The Lancet, looked at the relationship between Lp-PLA2 measurements and the subsequent risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and death in 79,036 participants from 32 prospective studies.

The authors of the study stressed that further research was needed to investigate the comparable risk “because blood pressure and cholesterol themselves were not as strongly associated with heart disease in this study as has been reported previously”.

Read the study at The Lancet online.

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