HOUSTON – Elevated levels of a type of cholesterol known as Lipoprotein(a) should be considered to be associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease in African-Americans, reported researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in a presentation at the American Heart Association, Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention 2011 Scientific Sessions in Atlanta.
“The current cholesterol treatment guidelines do not consider this type of cholesterol to be associated with heart disease and strokes in African-Americans despite higher levels of this particular type of cholesterol in African Americans compared with Caucasians,” said Dr. Salim S. Virani, a Staff Cardiologist at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of medicine at BCM and. “It is because there has not been enough representation of the African -American community in research studies to show otherwise.”
Virani and his colleagues studied participants who were already taking part in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, a large-scale bi-racial study designed to investigate the etiology and natural history of atherosclerosis.
“The ARIC study has a diverse group of participants who have been followed for the past 20 years,” said Virani. “We were able to see that indeed this type of cholesterol is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and stroke in African-Americans and the magnitude of risk associated with lipoprotein (a) was at least as strong as in Caucasians”
Others who contributed to the study include Drs. Ariel Brautbar, Vijay Nambi, Ron C. Hoogeveen, Joel D. Morrisett, and Christie M. Ballantyne, all of BCM; Brian C. Davis and Dr. Eric Boerwinkle both of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston; Drs. Richey Sharrett and Josef Coresh, Johns Hopkins University; Dr. Thomas H. Mosley, University of Mississippi Medical Center; Dr. Diane J. Catellier, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Dr. Aaron R. Folsom, University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
The ARIC study is supported by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Virani is supported by a Department of Veteran Affairs Health Services Research and Development Services Career Development Award.