HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol makes no difference to heart health: Study

High-density lipoprotein (HDL), referred to by medical experts as the “good cholesterol,” is being re-examined after a new study questions the benefits of this cholesterol type across racial lines.

Researchers from Oregon Health & Science University’s Knight Cardiovascular Institute analyzed 23,901 medical profiles for geographic and racial differences in the Causes of Stroke Study (REGARDS) and risk factors for cardiovascular events in middle-aged black and white patients. compared.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a medical research agency under the US Department of Health and Human Services, and was published Monday, November 21, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Analyzing thousands of REGARDS participants, the researchers limited their findings to patients who enrolled in the study from 2003 and 2007, and then they followed the patients’ health records over a period of 10 to 11 years.

Black and white study participants reportedly had similar cholesterol levels and underlying risk factors for heart disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking.

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A new study questions whether “good” cholesterol really has health benefits.
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Over the decade-long period, the researchers found that 664 black patients and 951 white patients had experienced a heart attack or heart attack-related death.

“It is well accepted that low HDL cholesterol levels are harmful, regardless of race. Our research tests those notions,” study senior author Nathalie Pamir said in a statement, according to the NIH. written.

“The goal was to understand this long-established link that labels HDL as beneficial cholesterol, and if it holds true for all ethnicities,” said Pamir, an associate professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland. Are, said.

High-density lipoprotein has been viewed favorably, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), because it has been shown to absorb cholesterol in the blood and transport it back to the liver.

The liver reportedly removes cholesterol from the body, which can lower a person’s chances of heart disease and stroke if they have high HDL cholesterol levels.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad cholesterol,” makes up most of the body’s cholesterol, according to the CDC.

Having high levels of LDL cholesterol has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

“When you have too much LDL cholesterol in your body, LDL cholesterol can build up on the walls of your blood vessels,” the CDC writes in an online cholesterol explainer. “This buildup is called ‘plaque.'”

The new study’s analysis of REGARDS data confirmed that higher levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (neutral fats) result in a “moderately increased risk for heart disease,” according to the NIH.

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The study examined the benefits of HDL cholesterol across racial lines.
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Low levels of HDL cholesterol were associated with an increased risk of heart disease in white patients, according to the study, but the same was not true for black patients.

Additionally, the study determined that higher levels of HDL cholesterol are not always associated with a lower chance of cardiovascular events — regardless of ethnic group.

The study authors concluded that heart disease risk calculators that use HDL cholesterol level readings may make inaccurate predictions for black patients.

Additionally, the study determined that higher levels of HDL cholesterol are not always associated with a lower chance of cardiovascular events — regardless of ethnic group.

The study authors concluded that heart disease risk calculators that use HDL cholesterol level readings may make inaccurate predictions for black patients.

“HDL cholesterol has long been an enigmatic risk factor for heart disease,” Sean Coady, deputy branch chief of epidemiology in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Division of Cardiology, wrote in a statement.

“The findings suggest that a deeper dive into the epidemiology of lipid metabolism is needed,” Cody continued. “Particularly how race can modify or mediate these relationships.”

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