Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at [email protected]

    Cholesterol: Size Matters
    billh99 posted:
    Why do some people with certain levels of LDL ("bad") and HDL ("good") cholesterol develop heart disease, while others with the same levels do not? A key factor may be the size and density of the cholesterol particles.
    There are two basic kinds of cholesterol in blood: LDL, which promotes heart disease, and HDL, which helps remove cholesterol from the system. But matters are more complicated. LDL cholesterol particles range from very small, densely concentrated particles to large "fluffy" ones. Studies have linked smaller, dense LDL cholesterol particles to a higher risk of heart disease compared to larger particles.
    Find out why small LDL are dangerous and what to do to improve them.


    This is one of reasons why some people with "good" number have heart problems and other with "bad" numbers don't.

    Now this is probably not all of the reasons. But it helps fill in some of the banks.
    Was this Helpful?
    11 of 18 found this helpful
    bobby75703 responded:
    For those who follow particle size, there are some things you can do with diet to change particle size to the large fluffy ones. Its been a while since I read the data from, I believe it was the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, or something like that. I want to say it was eliminating wheat would go a long way in changing particle size. My memory is foggy on this one, but I do remember they proved it can be done with diet.

    Although I have given up on cholesterol levels themselves causing atherosclerosis, I am still open minded on the particle size theory, but not conclusive.

    Thanks Bill
    HealthyLowCarb responded:
    It's about time the studies started focusing on the sub-particles of LDL. Hopefully they're looking into the role of c-reactive protein numbers too.

    Large, fluffy particles of LDL won't clog the arteries. If you don't have irritation/fissures on the walls of your arteries (what c-reactive protein testing can determine) then there isn't a place for the bad cholesterol particles to get in and build up.

    The overall cholesterol number should be the indicator it is in the medical community either. The overall number (260, for example) is LDL/HDL/Trig and the most important numbers are the triglycerides and the HDL. I have "a high number" in my cholesterol profile, but my HDL is in the high 50's and my trigs are just over 100. I'm not worried about my LDL because my c-reactive protein tests show no issues whatsoever. I eat healthy (low-carb, zero refined products) and I exercise. I drink only water with the exception of a soda on occasion and a cup of coffee in the morning. Why should I freak out over LDL like the docs want? So they can sell me a prescription for some cholesterol lowering statin that will damage my liver?

    I think not!

    Dr. Atkins, Gary Taubes, and the likes of each knew/know the score. The medical community needs to get on board and re-educate themselves before they kill anymore people with bogus information and prescriptions that bring about other medical issues.

    Americans really need to educate themselves and stop blindly trusting our USDA (food pyramid) and their old-school docs. Eat whole foods, exercise, get rid of sugar and processed foods. You'll live longer, feel better, look younger, have energy....the list goes on.
    toneman84084 replied to HealthyLowCarb's response:
    Not sure I understand where you're going with this, however, if everyone ate a healthy diet as you suggest and exercise, then yes there would be very little, if any, need for a statin except in cases where genetics or another underlying issue is the problem.

    No argument here.

    bobby75703 replied to toneman84084's response:
    Statins will never be a replacement a healthy lifestyle. They are destructive to tissue and metabolism just like hard liquor, cigarettes, and street drugs.
    bobby75703 replied to bobby75703's response:
    Concerning particle size and heart disease, while I have not reached any personal conclusions, Niaspan will alter the particle size towards a favorable pattern. However Niaspan does nothing to prevent heart disease, heart attacks or strokes.
    toneman84084 replied to bobby75703's response:
    I thought that's what I agreed with..............
    cotel replied to bobby75703's response:
    I am so glad to hear this information about particle size. My doctor loosely covered it at my appointment yesterday because my LDL's are creeping higher (130) and total is 230, but my HDL's and trig's are very good. She said the particles in my LDL's are large and fluffy and that all my results show I am a very healthy eater. I was a pescatariun for the last year and a half and now only rarely include chicken in my diet. I use only skim milk, rarely eat dairy and have mostly a plant based diet...and no fried or fast foods. I also exercise and am in a healthy weight range. She's having me take all kinds of supplements (coq10, flaxseed and omega's). I eat fish at least 5 times week so not sure how the omegas will help. Been scratching my head one this one and she just blames genetics. It seems the better I eat, the worse my total cholesterol gets, but the better my trig's improve. Any thoughts?
    bobby75703 replied to cotel's response:

    My honest opinion. A total cholesterol of 230 is not a problem, nor do I view LDL of 130 a problem. Those strike me as real healthy numbers.

    Featuring Experts

    There are no Expert stories for this community right now

    Helpful Tips

    Fasting before a cholesterol test
    Interesting................ More
    Was this Helpful?
    0 of 0 found this helpful

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.