The relation between plasma lipids and coronary heart disease (CHD) in the elderly is still debated, as well as the proposed role of lipoproteins as markers of longevity. In this study both normolipidemic elderly and middle-aged women with CHD showed higher triglycerides and apolipoprotein B levels and lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol and apolipoprotein A-I levels in comparison with age-matched subjects without CHD. In the middle-aged group, hypertension and HDL-cholesterol levels and, in the elderly group, only HDL-cholesterol levels were independently associated with CHD. No significant difference was found between a group of healthy centenarians and elderly and middle-aged subjects without CHD. These data suggest that plasma lipids are also related to CHD in the elderly and that, even if at present we are not able to consider them as predictors of longevity, some lipoprotein features may contribute to select subgroups of subjects in which other factors play a further role in life expectancy.

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