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Raising HDL Levels May Not Lower Heart Attack Risk
Haylen_WebMD_Staff posted:
It is widely believed that raising "good" cholesterol levels lowers heart attack risk, but surprising new research finds evidence that this may not be the case. Click the link to read more:

Gene Study Questions Impact of Increasing 'Good' Cholesterol Levels

What do you think about this widely held belief being debunked?

Debsbears responded:
Hi Haylen -

If it were true that the higher the HDL the better then my mom would still be here.

She watch everything except her beer - She did not have high cholesterol but her HDL was above 50. She died from a massive heart attack at the age of 50.

So I am beginning to believe that if it is in your gene's which it is for me no matter how good my numbers are I will probably have something wrong with my heart. Right now I am hoping it stays at the CHF and goes no further.
James Beckerman, MD, FACC responded:
It's very unnerving as a physician to learn about new data that goes against what has been believed by the medical community previously. This is why scientific studies are so important. It's also a good idea to interpret any new data in the context of prior studies to try to put things into proper perspective.
deadmanwalking57 replied to Debsbears's response:
Heart disease is more complicated that just good HDL. Some foods are multipliers of HDL's healthful role. Other foods diminish it. It can't compensate for high LDL.

Good HDL can't fix damaged arteries. It can't prevent damage from cigarettes, excess alcohol, other drugs, or trans fats. It can't lower blood pressure. It can't reduce stress. It can't floss your teeth, or strengthen your heart like exercise can.

And 50 is only consider high for men, not women. I know two women at my work with HDL of 90.

If she drank too much beer, that 's possibly excess alcohol that can cause all manner of other health problems.

And arterial disease can start in youth, but does not kill for decades.

What is in people's gene's is somewhat of a cultural habit to eat as your parents did, have the same stresses your parents had. I have massive heart did disease. My four siblings have shown no signs of any.

Take personal responsibility for all factors that lead to heart disease. If you don't, it may take you.

Joe Piscatella responded:
One thing to remember is that HDL is a "scavenger" cholesterol. It picks up LDL from the bloodstream and causes it to be excreted. So, a high level of HDL may indeed contribute to a low level of LDL, thus playing an important role in heart health.
deadmanwalking57 replied to Joe Piscatella's response:
Curiously, both women I know with very high HDL also have LDL close to 200 or more. Their high HDL has certainly done nothing to bring their LDL to a low level. It can lower it, but that is just one element of the bodies arterial health.

If all other elements of arterial health are good, HDL's impact will be greater. But higher HDL as a sole source of deliverance from heart disease is a pipe dream.

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