Test of Oxidized LDL (oxLDL) cholesterol involves the measurement of a lipoprotein that plays a key role in the development of atherosclerosis in the artery walls. Oxidized LDL is directly involved in the onset and progression of atherosclerosis, from the early stages of atherosclerotic plaque formation to the transformation of foam-filled lipid cells to the final stages of instability and atherosclerotic plaque rupture.
What is Oxidized LDL (oxLDL)?
Oxidized LDL (OxLDL) is LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol") that has been oxidized. Oxidized LDL activates the inflammatory process that leads to the formation of plaque in the arteries (arteriosclerosis). Oxidized LDL may also play a role in increasing triglyceride levels as well as increasing body fat deposition. In turn, adipose tissue can increase the oxidation of LDL, thus creating a vicious cycle.
Why is it necessary to measure OxLDL levels?
- People with high OxLDL levels are 4 times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome
- Elevated OxLDL levels are associated with the development of coronary heart disease
- In healthy middle-aged men, high OxLDL levels are 4 times more likely to develop coronary heart disease
- OxLDL levels increase gradually as the severity of coronary heart disease increases
Metabolic syndrome consists of various conditions that increase the likelihood of developing diabetes or heart disease. The metabolic syndrome is characterized by at least 3 of the following risk factors: high waist circumference, high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol), high blood pressure, or high blood glucose levels. In the Western world, about 1/3 of adults meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome. Even more worrying is the increasing presence of metabolic syndrome in children due to obesity. Unfortunately, when the metabolic syndrome is diagnosed, the heart and other organs' blood vessels are already severely damaged.
- Measurement of oxidized LDL can predict the risk of metabolic syndrome
- Measurement of oxidized LDL is necessary in people whose lifestyle is at high risk for developing metabolic syndrome or cardiovascular disease (smokers, obese, sedentary lifestyle, etc.), in order to make timely appropriate treatment interventions
- Measurement of oxidized LDL is necessary for people who already have known cardiovascular disease and are at increased risk of having a heart attack
How can oxidized LDL levels be reduced?
Early lifestyle changes are the best option to reduce oxidized LDL levels.
- Avoid smoking or stop smoking immediately
- Adjust your diet to include foods low in saturated fat and zero trans-fat. The diet should include a lot of fruits and vegetables (high content of antioxidants)
- Take the right antioxidants
- Increase physical activity