“Could too much ‘Good’ HDL cholesterol be bad for your heart?”

Within the medical community, we often use the terms “good cholesterol” and “bad cholesterol.” HDL, or high density lipoprotein cholesterol, is most often viewed as “protective from cardiovascular disease and death,” or the “good cholesterol” However, a recent study by the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta found that high levels HDL may actually be considered harmful.

The study assessed 60,000 men and women and tracked their cholesterol levels and risk for heart disease over the course of four years. HDL levels ranged, “from a low, less than 30 mg/dL to a high, greater than 60 mg/dL of blood.” Over the duration of the study, about 13% of test subjects either suffered from a heart attack or died.

“Specifically, patients with HDL levels exceeding 60 were found to have a 50 percent greater risk of heart disease death or heart attack, compared with those in the middle-range, the investigators reported.” 

At the study’s end, the researchers concluded that patients with HDL levels in the middle-range of the spectrum — meaning between 41 to 60 mg/dL of blood — fared the best, having the lowest risk for heart attack or death from heart disease.

Allard-Ratick, head researcher on this study says concerned patients with high HDL cholesterol, “should continue to address other modifiable risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, and obesity to reduce cardiovascular disease”.

To read more about this study, visit Could too much HDL cholesterol be bad for your heart?

To learn more about cholesterol management, visit Cholesterol 101: An introduction.