HDL (Good) Cholesterol Found Not Protect Against Heart Disease

Many medical experts suggest that having low LDL cholesterol and high HDL cholesterol can reduce the risk of heart disease. But a new study found that raising HDL cholesterol may not have any impact on your heart disease risk.

The study published in the medical journal The Lancet challenges the established notion that raising a person’s HDL would reduce their risk of heart disease. It says there is no direct relationship between higher HDL levels and lower risk of heart disease.

This means that it is best to focus on lowering LDL levels rather than raising HDL levels in order to cope with heart disease.

“Raising HDL cholesterol might not reduce the risk of myocardial infarction,” says Dr Sekar Kathiresan from Massachusetts General Hospital, who led the study.

HDL is known as ‘good’ cholesterol because it has been associated with lower risk of heart disease in some studies, but its exact mechanism has always been uncertain.

In the study, scientists tested the genes involved in raising HDL in about 1,70,000 people and found that fifteen HDL-raising genetic variants did not reduce the risk of heart disease.

It was found that there is no difference in individuals with heart attack risk who carried genes involved in elevated HDL than those without the genetic variants.

“This is an interesting study as opposed to the usual evidence about HDL. Raising HDL, in any case, it is difficult, whether through dietary changes or exercise. So our main target is lowering LDL cholesterol,” says Dr Anoop Misra, head of the Center of Internal Medicine at Fortis Hospital.