Is good cholesterol bad for you?
Research suggests it may be overrated.
We've all been told we need more "good cholesterol," HDL in our diet to counter the bad, so we've all scrambled to find foods that would increase the HDL levels in our blood and reduce our risk of heart disease. But now, a new study is challenging that bit of medical advice.
Which is it? Good or bad? Researchers can't say for sure.
This is a disturbing concern for doctors who worry about pharmaceutical companies developing HDL increasing drugs. So far, none of the three tested drugs that raise HDL levels have succeeded in reducing risk.
In another clinical trial, patients who have been told to exercise or consume niacin have also failed to reduce their risk.
However, HDL might not be completely ineffective. Dr. Steven Nissen chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, said he remains hopeful that HDL is still useful in the fight against heart disease. "I am an optimist," he said.
Nissen suggested that the relationship between HDL and heart disease may be complex and still HDL still has some protective value.
Doctors still concede that there appears to be a relationship between high HDL levels and lower risk of heart disease, but the relationship probably isn't as direct as believed.
However, doctors still caution that the bad cholesterol, LOL is still bad. It pays to reduce LDL levels by any practical means.
In the meantime, patients may want to revisit the issue with their doctors as more research is done, but it is not recommended that any significant changes be made until the latest results are verified and doctors decide what alternative course to take - if any.
The study was published on Wednesday in the online edition of The Lancet.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: HDL, LDL, cholesterol, heart disease, study, trials
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