Cholesterol famously comes in two versions - the good and the bad. Heart health, we're told, depends on lowering the bad (LDL) cholesterol, and pushing up the good (HDI).
But it's no longer that simple. Bad cholesterol turns out to be part of a double act. What's more, this discovery suggests that a new treatment for heart disease could be a simple vitamin tablet.
Researchers recently found that bad cholesterol has a twin called lipoprotein(a), which can also raise your risk of heart disease. Having both of them would be a double whammy and raise the risk of blocked arteries even further. Doctors have known for some time that people with a high level of Lp(a), as it is known, were more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke.
What wasn't certain was whether it could cause them or whether it was an innocent bystander. Now, researchers have found a definite link between higher levels of lp(a) and cardiovascular problems.
'The work confirms unequivocally that Lp(a) is a causal factor for coronary heart disease,' says Dr Robert Clarke, of the Clinical trial service Unit at Oxford University.