Health and you: Too much good cholesterol is also too bad

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | INDULEKHA ARAKKAL
Published Sep 10, 2017, 8:17 am IST
Updated Sep 10, 2017, 8:17 am IST
While the normal amount of HDL is 40 milligrams, 60 is considered high.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as “good” cholesterol, might not be all that good, according to a recent study by the University of Copenhagen.
 High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as “good” cholesterol, might not be all that good, according to a recent study by the University of Copenhagen.

The results of a study showed that high levels of good cholesterol in the bloodstream increased the risk of death by 68 per cent in women and 106 per cent in men.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as “good” cholesterol, might not be all that good, according to a recent study by the University of Copenhagen. Doctors often ask patients to “up” their good cholesterol levels, but this study claims that the higher the HDL levels, the higher the mortality rate.

General physician Dr Indra Mohan, says, “A good amount of HDL can be maintained only with nuts, such as almonds, omega 3 and ghee whereas the bad cholesterol, popularly known as LDL, is common because most of the food we eat is oily. Having more or less of good cholesterol can be harmful for the body.”

“We often blame low-density lipoprotein (LDL) for heart attacks, but our forefathers, who ate the same food as we do, were unharmed,” says Dr Aneesh Aanand. “The levels of ‘bad cholesterol’ cannot be the only factor (for heart attacks). Stress, habits, all contribute. Similarly, there have been theories that say that too much of HDL can cause liver inflammation and also affect the capacity of HDL to remove excess cholesterol,” the doctor says.

He further stated that the presence of excess cholesterol varies from patient to patient. Patients with diabetes and who have kidney problems have an increased risk of heart attacks as it causes inflammation.

Doctors say that with more HDL, there might be malfunction or organs and although patients with high HDL are not as common as those with increased levels of LDL, the ill-effects cannot be ignored. While the normal amount of HDL is 40 milligrams, 60 is considered high.

The study was conducted over a six-year period. The results showed that high levels of HDL in the bloodstream increased the risk of death by 68 per cent in women, and 106 per cent in men. “While cholesterol cannot be the only factor for cardiovascular diseases, it is definitely one of the markers for the same,” says Dr Aanand.

Rajib Paul, a general physician, says, “The study claims that patients with high levels of HDL, say, 80 to 90, are at risk. Such high levels are not normally observed, but they can lead to metabolism issues, which can lead to liver inflammation. People with such high levels of good cholesterol are normally patients with genetic problems and they do have an increased chance of heart diseases.”





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