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HDL: Is Higher Really Better?

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."

Additional Information:

(1) Does Cholesterol Size Matter?

(2) Isn't Some Cholesterol Actually Healthy?

(3) Classic Tale of the African Green Monkeys

Joel Fuhrman MD Links

Joel Fuhrman MD  |  LinkedIn  |  Wikipedia  |  VegSource  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Books  |  Videos

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I had a lipid test in Feb 2015, and the numbers were bad:
Total was 258
LDL was 156
triglycerides were 117
HDL was 86

After changing my lifestyle and improving a few things (vitamins & herbs), I went the other day to have it rechecked, and here's the new numbers:

LDL was 117
HDL was 58
Triglycerides were 90
Total cholesterol was 93

My question is WHY did my GOOD HDL drop so significantly??!!!!!!!! I'm concerned because this is my protector against heart disease, so please help me understand what's going on??????

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Your HDL levels dropped because you need so much less of it, now that your LDL levels have improved so much. Congratulations! You are doing great! With less criminals on the street, we need less cops on the beat. That means that the cops (HDL) are not as needed, because there are fewer criminals (LDL) to plague us. Do not worry that your HDL is lower, because HDL levels do not protect against heart disease, according to the science.

  Linda Carney MD
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