HDL: Can You Have Too Much of a Good Thing?
In the beginning, there was cholesterol. And it was all bad. Then research suggested that there were two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL was dubbed “bad” cholesterol; having high LDL levels is predictive of higher risk of cardiovascular disease. HDL, on the other hand, was called the “good” cholesterol, and having higher levels of HDL is thought to prevent cardiovascular disease.
However, new research suggests that it may be possible to have too much of a “good” thing. As reported in a study published in the European Heart Journal, Danish researchers followed 116,000 participants for an average of six years, and found that extremely high levels of HDL were associated with higher risk of death. And not only death from cardiovascular disease. Extremely high levels of HDL were associated with higher risk of death from all causes.
What is considered an “extremely high” level of HDL? HDL levels of 116 mg/dL in men and 135 mg/dL in women were associated with a higher chance of premature death than occurred in men or women who had “normal” levels.
The level of HDL associated with the lowest mortality: 73 mg/dL in men and 93 mg/dL in women.
So, by all means, do what you can to raise your HDL. But don’t get too much of a good thing.
At Atlantic Coast Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, in Lakewood, NJ, our staff of physicians, nurses, therapists, counselors, and — of course, dietitians and nutritionists — use best practices in all areas of healthcare, including nutrition, to make sure all our residents are healthy and happy.
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