Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: High Cholesterol | How Can I Boost My ‘Good’ Cholesterol

How Can I Boost My ‘Good’ Cholesterol?

By    |   Monday, 08 Apr 2013 10:55 AM

Question: My HDL level is normally — between 26 and 30 — and my LDL levels are below 100. I have taken fish oil, lovastatin, and now take pravastatin and still can't get the level over 30. Niacin doesn't seem to help either. I am 59 years old, had heart bypass surgery several years ago, and take a low-dose aspirin daily. Any suggestions?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
 
You have low HDL — the "good” cholesterol — which is an independent risk factor for premature vascular disease and heart disease. Usually this is caused by genetics, but statin drugs will affect HDL cholesterol levels — with some decreasing and others increasing HDL.
 
Niacin will also improve HDL levels, which will lower your cardiac and stroke risk. In my experience, the newer generation statins such as Crestor and Lipitor have improved potency, are better tolerated by patients, and have less interaction with other drugs than the older statins. There are other agents available by prescription such as Zetia and fibrates that may be used to  increase HDL, but the risks and benefits need to weighed by your prescribing physician.
 
Also, if you are a smoker, stop now. Smoking adversely affects your cholesterol significantly, and accelerates atherosclerosis and vascular disease, negating any progress you may make in raising your HDL.. Having had bypass surgery, your target for your LDL — the "bad" cholesterol — should be under 80. Omega-3 supplements (preferably a pure fish-based product such as prescription Lovaza) may improve your HDL (ideally you should aim to have an HDL of 60 or better), and is worth a try. 

Do not forget that regular exercise and managing your weight will also reduce your health risks, as you seek to elevate your HDL.

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Dr-Hibberd
Low HDL, a risk factor for premature heart disease, is usually caused by genetics, but statin drugs will affect HDL cholesterol levels — with some decreasing and others increasing HDL.
How Can I Boost My ‘Good’ Cholesterol
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2013-55-08
Monday, 08 Apr 2013 10:55 AM
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