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Watch Your Levels — Even High 'Good' Cholesterol May Increase Risk

Watch Your Levels — Even High 'Good' Cholesterol May Increase Risk
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By    |   Friday, 13 April 2018 02:07 PM

Medical experts realize there is a relationship between cholesterol levels and heart disease, but a new study finds that HDL cholesterol — the "good" cholesterol — can have negative effects on our health.

New research shows that HDL's ability to protect the heart depends on the levels of two other blood fats or lipids — LDL or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides (TG). If those two lipids aren't within normal ranges, even a high HDL may not be protective.

Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital and the University of Copenhagen discovered that HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol affects the immune system and increases the risk of infectious diseases such as pneumonia and gastroenteritis.

The study was based on data from 100,000 Danish individuals from the Copenhagen General Population Study who were followed for more than six years.

The individuals with the lowest concentrations of HDL cholesterol had a 75 percent increased risk of infectious disease, and for those with very high HDL cholesterol the risk was increased 43 percent.

"Surprisingly, we found that individuals with both low and high HDL cholesterol had high risk of hospitalization with an infectious disease," said Hospital Børge Nordestgaard. "Perhaps more importantly, these same groups of individuals had high risk of dying from infectious disease."

Study results were published in the European Heart Journal.

The Danish study isn't the first to question the value of high HDL cholesterol levels, even as protection from heart disease. A study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that HDL levels alone don't do the trick.

The study followed 3,590 men and women between 1987 and 2011. They had no known cardiovascular disease at the beginning of the study, but participants included those with both high and low HDL levels, and both normal and high levels of LDL and triglycerides.

The study found that HDL alone did not correctly predict cardiovascular risk, and that LDL and triglyceride levels modified risk in participants with both low and high levels of HDL.

As might have been predicted, patients who had low HDL levels combined with high levels of LDL ("bad" cholesterol) or triglycerides or both, had a higher risk of cardiovascular disease of 30 to 60 percent. But in patients with high levels of HDL, cardiovascular risk was not reduced if LDL and triglycerides were also high.

Researchers said that although HDL does have a protective role in preventing heart disease, it's value had been hyped.

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Medical experts realize there is a relationship between cholesterol levels and heart disease, but a new study finds that HDL cholesterol - the "good" cholesterol - can have negative effects on our health.Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital and the University of...
cholesterol, infectious, disease, pneumonia, risk, good, high-density
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2018-07-13
Friday, 13 April 2018 02:07 PM
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