Serum cholesterol in middle age may play role in AMD development

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There may be a link between high systemic total cholesterol in early middle age and the initial development of age‐related macular degeneration (AMD) later in life, according to a study that found the link to be more prevalent in patients who develop large drusen.

In this study, 209 patients from the Helsinki Businessmen Study (HBS) who had total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride, and body mass index (BMI) measured at the baseline visit in 1964–1973, were included. Lipid subfractions, BMI, smoking status, and statin use were recorded in 2011. Fundus photographs were graded for AMD in 2005–2012.

In patients who later developed intermediate or late AMD or with drusen size of ≥125 µm, baseline TC measurements were significantly higher than the rest of the study population.

During the follow-up in 2011, TC, LDL, and TG values were lower in patients with AMD compared to patients without AMD. There was no difference seen with HDL levels.

When corrected for age, BMI, AMD risk single nucleotide polymorphisms, and smoking, a multivariate analysis found baseline TC associated with intermediate or late AMD (and drusen size ≥ 125 µm. After correction, there was no association seen with lipid values measured in 2011.

Kananen F, Strandberg T, Loukovaara S, et al. Early middle age cholesterol levels and the association with age‐related macular degeneration. Acta Ophthalmol. 2021; https://doi.org/10.1111/aos.14774

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