Science

Bad Cholesterol: Very Low Level Puts You At Risk For Cataract

By Duna Bil , Jan 31, 2017 09:03 AM EST
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According to a study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, very low levels of LDL, or bad cholesterol, puts you at a greater risk for cataract. The researchers studied patients with heart disease taking LDL inhibitors to achieve unusually low cholesterol level. There were no adverse effects noted from the inhibitors except for an increased risk of cataracts.

The cholesterol-lowering drug, or statins, used in the study were specifically PCSK9 inhibitor, and no reports of side affects have surfaced, including memory impairment or nervous system disorders. However, the study showed that the risk for cataract is increased among statin users as compared with nonusers. According to the researchers, to glean the maximum amount of benefits and avoid risks, statin use specifically for primary prevention, should be carefully weighed.

According to the EurekAlert,statins are largely used to lower LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol. They are prescribed in hopes to lower risks of a heart attack  or stroke. However, some high risk patients need to reduce their LDL level even further.

PCSK9 inhibitors can help them do that, but concerns on very low levels of LDL cholesterol effects on the body functions have risen.An analysis did show an increased incidence of cataracts in patients with LDL less than 25 compared to those greater than 25. This finding could be because reducing cholesterol accelerates underlying aging-related changes resulting to the development of cataracts.

According to The Jama Network , cataract development may be induced by oxidative stress, including a possible mitochondrial effect which can potentially increase risk for cataract. Previous studies have seen an increased rates of cataract among animals and humans with hereditary cholesterol deficiency. The recent studies on the effects of very low bad cholesterol have yielded an unexpected finding, putting patients who take statins in a precarious condition.

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