HDL: Is Higher Really Better?
One of the ways to predict the risk of cardiovascular disease is by having regular blood tests done that includes a blood lipid profile. This test includes not only the total cholesterol, but also the HDL (high-density lipoprotein) and LDL (low-density lipoprotein). The LDL is considered the "bad" cholesterol, while the HDL is thought of to be the "good" cholesterol. Lower LDL levels reduce risk factors for heart disease, and higher HDL levels have been considered to be beneficial, since HDL helps removes the "bad" LDL cholesterol.
Eating healthfully results in a reduction of the "bad" LDL cholesterol, but many times patients also see a reduction in their "good" HDL cholesterol, which concerns many patients. Studies show that using drugs to raise HDL in those patients that already have favorable LDL levels does not further reduce their cardiovascular risk. Dr. Joel Fuhrman explains in his Cholesterol Article that having lower HDL levels is not harmful when eating an optimal diet. Since the role of HDL is to remove the bad LDL cholesterol from our bloodstream, the lower the LDL, the less HDL is required.
Dr. Fuhrman concludes by saying, "Manipulating cholesterol levels with drugs is simply not enough to resolve cardiovascular disease and prevent future heart attacks and strokes. Only healthy living which addresses multiple parameters simultaneously can restore cardiovascular health."
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