Raising good cholesterol alone 'not effective in combating heart disease'

2 November 2016

A new study has shown that raising levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as "good cholesterol", is not enough to effectively combat heart disease on its own.

This research looked at 631,000 individuals without prior cardiovascular conditions from Ontario to evaluate the association between HDL and death in individuals living in the same environment and exposed to the same healthcare system.

It was shown that both low and very high HDL levels were associated with an increased risk of both cardiovascular death and non-cardiovascular related death, such as death from cancer.

The findings indicate that HDL may not be considered an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and that raising HDL levels by itself ought not to be used as an intervention to reduce the risk of dying from heart disease.

As such, the researchers indicate that lowering levels of "bad cholesterol", or low-density lipoprotein, remains a more effective means of cutting heart disease risk.

Study leader Dr Dennis Ko, an associate professor at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, said: "Focusing on raising HDL is likely not going to help these patients, but these findings show that one of the best interventions in treating and preventing heart disease continues to be lifestyle changes."

Posted by Edward Bartel


Health News is provided by Axonn Media in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Axonn Media and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)