Early Treatment of Cholesterol Crystals Could Prevent Heart Attack
Findings from researchers suggest that early treatment of cholesterol crystals inside heart arteries could prevent heart attack. Cholesterol crystals are known to promote hardening of the arteries and inflammation that leads to heart attack.
When cholesterol builds up in the artery it changes from liquid to solid as it crystallizes, expands, and blocks the arteries of the heart with clots, leading to heart attack.
Researcher George Abela, chief of the cardiology division in MSU's College of Human Medicine and a team of researchers have discovered that NLRP3 is a biomarker that induces inflammation. Abela explains that now we know cholesterol “crystals are an early cause rather than a late consequence of inflammation.”
Abela says targeting cholesterol crystals “early on” might stop plaque development and inflammation in the arteries, preventing heart attack, and leading to new treatment of heart disease.
Abela also says monitoring activity of the NLRP3 biomarker activated by cholesterol crystals may be a more accurate predictor of heart attack risk as opposed to monitoring cholesterol levels. Early treatment of cholesterol crystals would prevent heart attack by addressing inflammation at a cellular level versus systemically as is the current approach.