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
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