Saturday, March 12, 2011

A New Risk Factor for High Cholesterol!

Bad cholesterol refers low-density lipoprotein, or LDL. A person with high LDL is at high risk of developing heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), and stroke.

High fat diet and lack of physical activity could be 2 of the common causes for getting high LDL. But United States researchers from West Virginia University recently found that chemicals used to make non-stick coatings on cookware and to waterproof fabrics might increase cholesterol levels in children. Their findings appeared on September 6, 2010 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

In the study, children with highest levels of these chemicals in their blood had higher levels of total cholesterol and LDL, compared with children with lower readings.

The 2 chemicals studied were perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS). They enter into people through air and occupational exposure, breast milk, cord blood, drinking water, dust, food packaging, and microwave popcorn.

Studies in animals had suggested that perfluoroalkyl acid, which is a known neurotoxin, could affect the liver ad so result in changes in cholesterol levels. Perfluoroalkyl acid could interfere with brain development, which leaves its mark on later behavioral functions such as cognitive performance.

The cholesterol levels in blood samples, taken from more than 12,000 children in the mid-Ohio River who had PFOA in their drinking water, were examined. These children and teens had more PFOA in their bodies than the national average, and a PFOS concentration about the same as the national average.

After analyzing the data, it was found that children and teens with the highest PFOA concentration had total cholesterol levels that were 4.6 points higher and LDL levels that were 3.8 points higher than those with the lowest PFOA levels.

Nevertheless, the researchers admitted that their findings only indicated there is a link between the compounds and higher cholesterol. They suggested more studies should be carried out to prove chemical exposure was the cause.

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