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Is higher serum cholesterol associated with altered tendon structure or tendon pain? A systematic review

Benjamin J Tilley, Jill L Cook, Sean I Docking, James E Gaida
Br J Sports Med 2015;49:1504-1509


Background: Tendon pain occurs in individuals with extreme cholesterol levels (familial hypercholesterolaemia). It is unclear whether the association with tendon pain is strong with less extreme elevations of cholesterol.
Objective: To determine whether lipid levels are associated with abnormal tendon structure or the presence of tendon pain.
Methods: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis. Relevant articles were found through an electronic search of 6 medical databases—MEDLINE, Cochrane, AMED, EMBASE, Web of Science and Scopus. We included all case–control or cross-sectional studies with data describing (1) lipid levels or use of lipid-lowering drugs and (2) tendon structure or tendon pain.
Results: 17 studies (2612 participants) were eligible for inclusion in the review. People with altered tendon structure or tendon pain had significantly higher total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol; with mean difference values of 0.66, 1.00, 0.33, and -0.19 mmol/L, respectively.
Conclusions: The results of this review indicate that a relationship exists between an individual’s lipid profile and tendon health. However, further longitudinal studies are required to determine whether a cause and effect relationship exists between tendon structure and lipid levels. This could lead to advancement in the understanding of the pathoaetiology and thus treatment of tendinopathy.

 

Br J Sports Med 2015;49:1504-1509

 

 


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