When LDL is packaged in small dense particles—called Pattern B—it is far more deadly than the lighter and fluffier Pattern A. Scientists believe that the tiny particles are more dangerous because they can burrow into the blood vessel walls, which thickens and inflames the tissues, and they remain in the bloodstream longer.
For some women, measuring proteins that carry cholesterol in the blood—known as apolipoprotein B100 and apolipoprotein A1—may give a better estimate of heart attack risk than measuring cholesterol. A 2008 international study found that the ratio of APoB to APoA1 accounted for a higher percent of the risk of heart attacks than the standard ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol.
Originally published in the May 2010 issue of More.