Good cholesterol is not that good

Good cholesterol is not that good
A high level of “good cholesterol” is associated with higher mortality.

In the cholesterol family, we usually distinguish “good” (HDL cholesterol) and “bad” (LDL cholesterol), depending on the lipoprotein that accompanies it in the blood. But the theory that “bad cholesterol” clogs the arteries is increasingly challenged.

Read: Cholesterol: the good and the bad

To reduce their risk of heart problems, many patients are treated with statins to lower their LDL cholesterol. These medications are controversial because of their side effects.

Read: The black folder of cholesterol-lowering drugs

As for the “good cholesterol“, if studies have suggested a protective effect, new results suggest that it is not so good …

Higher mortality with “good cholesterol” in high amounts

Low or high levels of “good cholesterol” are associated with a higher risk of dying from heart disease, cancer or other causes, according to a study published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology . The results suggest that low levels of good cholesterol are not a cardiovascular risk factor per se and that increasing it does not reduce the risk of heart disease.

In this article, researchers investigated the link between HDL cholesterol and mortality. The study included 631,762 people from the CANHEART cohort who did not have a cardiovascular problem at baseline. Participants were between 40 and 105 years old at inclusion in 2008, with an average age of 57 years. They had been living in Ontario (Canada) for at least two years. There were 55% of women. 17,952 people died during follow-up, which lasted 4.9 years on average.

The lowest HDL levels were observed in poor people who had healthier lifestyles, more heart risk factors, and other health problems. By adjusting for lifestyle factors, low levels of HDL cholesterol were associated with an increased risk of death (cardiovascular or non-cardiovascular). “The link between good cholesterol and heart disease is complex, but it seems certain that there is a link between people with low levels of good cholesterol and other well-known risk factors for heart disease ,  said Dennis. Ko, lead author of the study.

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