Ivor, over at thefatemperor, recently mentioned the lovely observational study, the Norfolk section of EPIC. That's where I live and it's HbA1c which correlates with CVD here. Cholesterol does not. At all. Tha' be 'ere in Norf'k, b'o'r. With apologies for the lapse in to the vernacular. My children are becoming experts. Computer is com-poo-er...
That nudged me to put this very brief observational post up on glucose dysregulation and CVD in the land where cholesterol is king, for people with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia. There are many, many problems you could point out in this study, but those are intrinsic to a retrospective observational study. Take a group of hFH people who have survived a premature heart attack. Match a similar group of hFH people who haven't had a heart attack. How do you tell the difference between the groups? As a lipidologist perhaps you might suspect the LDL cholesterol level? That is exactly the problem in hFH after all... But:
"There was no difference in total and LDL cholesterol between the two groups. Patients with previous myocardial infarction had significantly higher levels of insulin, insulin resistance [and several other things I'm not interested in, which they would like to treat]..."
Insulin resistance is the problem, on a mixed diet. Do you think this might show in the HbA1c, just as it does here in Norfolk for us non hFH folks?
It probably does. In a similar observational study on hFH, using HbA1c itself rather than insulin/resistance parameters:
"Of special note is that HbA1c showed a significant correlation with average ATT [Achilles Tendon Thickness], independent of other parameters..."
Achilles Tendon Thickness is a marker of Badness in hFH. As your tendon thickens, so too does your carotid intima thicken.
In general, patients with hFH tend to have rather good glucose control compared to the general population. That might just be why they live as long as they do under the correct circumstances. But with hFH I suspect that, should you manage it, developing metabolic syndrome may be a very unforgiving problem. You have to wonder what side stepping the syndrome by low carb eating might do, giving chronic normoglycaemia without elevated post prandial insulin. Not holding my breath waiting for that one.
BTW, as statins worsen glycaemic control, could they actually make the CVD problems worse for hFH patients? Surely not. Surely we have stopped making booboos of this type. Of course we have. Of course.