Scientists from Oregon Health and Science University have found that high levels of “good” cholesterol do not reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, its low level only harms patients of European descent. Research published Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is sometimes called “bad” cholesterol. They make up most of the cholesterol in the body. High LDL levels increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. But there is also “good” cholesterol – high-density lipoprotein (HDL). They absorb cholesterol from the blood and carry it back to the liver.
High HDL levels are thought to be associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, while low levels are thought to be associated with an increase. A new study refutes this belief.
The 24,000 participants in the study were followed for 10-11 years. During this time, 664 black and 951 white adults had heart attacks or died from heart attacks. Black and white patients had similar characteristics: age, cholesterol levels, and significant risk factors for heart disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure, or smoking, so the authors compared them for cholesterol levels alone.
Patients with high levels of “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, consistent with the results of previous studies.
As for “good” cholesterol, high levels were not protective for either white or black patients. Also, lower “good” cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart attack in white adults, but not in black adults.
The authors suggest that “good” cholesterol may have different properties, which explains why it doesn’t always protect against cardiovascular disease.
HDL and LDL levels are used to assess cardiovascular disease risk. There is even a special calculator but it does not take into account a person’s ethnicity.