Too Much Good Cholesterol?

There are two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) and low-density lipoproteins (LDLs). LDLs are considered bad cholesterol because they can clog your arteries while HDLs are considered good because they help clear out LDLs. Since that is the case you would think that keeping LDL levels low and HDL levels high would be a good thing for your health. However this article from Men’s Health explains why you might not want your HDL levels too high.

Related: The Better Man Project From Men’s Health—2,000+ Awesome Tips On How to Live Your Healthiest Life

Researchers tracked more than 1.7 million men for nearly a decade. They found that those with HDL levels above 50 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) were significantly more likely to die during the study than those with levels between 25 to 50 mg/dL.

(Guys with levels below 25 mg/dL were also more likely to die than those in the middle range.)

The National Institutes for Health (NIH) says that anything above 59 mg/dL protects you from heart disease. So these findings seem to be challenging some long-held beliefs.

HDL is considered “good” because it prevents LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from building up in your arteries and narrowing them, which can lead to clots and subsequent heart attacks and strokes.

Related: What You Need to Know If You’re Taking Statins to Lower Your Cholesterol

So why did the high-HDL men die sooner in the study? The researchers aren’t sure, but that group of men also had higher levels of inflammation, says lead researcher Ziyad Al-Aly, M.D., of the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System.

Chronic inflammation can be killer, contributing to deadly conditions like heart disease and cancer.

Still, the scientists don’t know if high HDL somehow causes inflammation. More research is needed to figure out what—if anything—is going on.

Because this data is so new and uncertain, it doesn’t change the HDL guidelines laid out by the NIH, says Prediman Krishan Shah, M.D., Men’s Health cardiology advisor.

But it’s a good reminder that you can’t rely too much on any one number to determine your health.

In fact, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recently changed their recommendations for statin therapy for high cholesterol away from a certain number in favor of a multi-faceted approach that takes into account your 10-year risk of developing heart disease.

Related: What Your Cholesterol Test Really Means—and When You Should Get It 

So while the scientists sort everything out, stick to the current targets and try these 30 Proven Ways to Save Your Heart Today.

Source: http://www.menshealth.com/health/high-hdl-cholesterol-and-death

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