Raising ‘Good Cholesterol’ Might Not Improve Heart Disease Risk As Previously Thought

Doctors have known for quite some time that keeping Low-Density Lipoprotein or LDL (known as bad cholesterol) at low levels is good for your heart, however their original thought that raising good cholesterol (HDL) can help prevent heart disease may not be correct according to a recently study.

Published on Wednesday in medical journal The Lancet the study says there is no “direct relationship” between higher levels of HDL and a lower risk of heart attack.

According to lead researcher Dr Sekar Kathiresan from Massachusetts General Hospital:

“Ways of raising HDL cholesterol might not reduce risk of myocardial infarction.”

Dr. Kathiresan added:

“With drugs or lifestyle changes to raise HDL, we cannot automatically assume that risk of myocardial infarction will be reduced.”

While HDL has been associated with lower risk of heart attacks doctors have never been able to pin down exactly how its mechanism works to prevent heart disease and heart attacks.

To reach their conclusion scientists studied 170,000 patients and found that 15 HDL-raising genetic variants they tested did not help prevent heart attacks.

When compared to patients who did not carry the HDL elevating genes the group found nearly the same number o f heart attacks.

The studies main conclusion appears to be that heart attacks are not created by a single factor but are instead the results of multifactorial conditions that differ from one person to another.

The study is important because it could alert drug company’s to the fact that targeting LDL or HDL levels is not enough to create acceptable prescription drugs in the fight against heart attackd. According to researchers other factors should be investigated including “high blood pressure, high blood glucose, obesity and tobacco.”