Impact of Genes and Lifestyle on LDL in Young Women

April 3, 2018

Results of a new study of causes of elevated LDL in young women supports greater focus on early assessment and intervention in this population.

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Young Women with High LDL: A Neglected Population? CV issues are underdiagnosed, undertreated, and understudied in women despite the fact that CVD is the leading cause of death in women. Are there specific genetic and lifestyle factors that affect LDL in younger women?

 

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Dutch Study of Genes, Lifestyle, and LDL  in Younger Women. Evaluated genetic predisposition and lifestyle factors in women with an average age of 33 years.

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High LDL Linked to Poor Lifestlye. Low LDL scores linked with genetic predisposition for hypocholesterolemia but not with unhealthy lifestyle. High LDL scores also reflected genetic tendancy but more than half of subjects with very high LDL had unhealthy lifestyle scores.

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Clinical Implications. Young women may be overlooked for CV risk assessment; may be genetically predisposed to elevated LDL or be prone to dietary indescretion. Age- and sex-based LDL cutoffs rather than fixed LDL levels may better identify patients who need genetic testing for familial hypercholesterolemia.

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Take Home Points

  • Subanalysis of a Dutch cohort study found that 17% of young women with genes for hypercholesterolemia were undiagnosed and untreated.

  • The majority of young women with very high LDL had unhealthy lifestyles.

  • Young women who appear healthy may still need early assessment and intervention to decrease CV risk.