How high Should High Density LipoProtein be?
LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterol, while the HDL (High Density LipoProtein) is thought of to be the “good” cholesterol. Lower LDL levels reduce risk factors for heart disease, and higher HDL levels have been considered to be beneficial, since HDL helps removes the “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Studies show that using drugs to raise HDL in those patients that already have favorable LDL levels does not further reduce their cardiovascular risk.
Having lower HDL levels is not harmful when eating an optimal diet. Since the role of HDL is to remove the bad LDL cholesterol from our bloodstream via the liver, the lower the LDL, the less HDL is required.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. says, “Manipulating cholesterol levels with drugs is simply not enough to resolve cardiovascular disease and prevent future heart attacks and strokes. Only healthy living which addresses multiple parameters simultaneously can restore cardiovascular health.”
Linda Carney, MD:
While statins, fibrates, and niacin have been used traditionally to raise HDL levels, there are newer drugs used to treat this condition as well. We really don’t need excessively high HDL when consuming a healthful diet, especially using drugs.
On a DVD I once heard Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. M D say: “I don’t care what your LDL is, I just want to see your HDL at 40!” This makes perfect sense in light of these blog authors. If your LDL is low enough your HDL will be around 40 anyway.
There was a correlation between HDL levels and death rates. Patients with low High Density LipoProtein levels (<50 mg/dl in women and <40 mg/dl in men) had higher rates of cardiovascular deaths, cancer-related deaths, and other deaths.
The study also found that patients with high HDL levels (> 70 mg/dl in men and >90 mg/dl in women) had increased rates of cancer deaths and non-cardiovascular deaths.
There is still much to understand about this complex relationship between LDL and HDL. Raising HDL levels with drugs has not benefited patients in terms of reducing heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular death rates.