As many of you know, my own HDL runs in the 130s, at least last I checked some months ago. How? Lots of fat — particularly saturated animal and coconut fat — in my diet.
Then, "John," whose issues with cholesterol I profiled here emailed a few days back to let me know that life’s not fair and that his wife rings in with HDL of 169, the highest I’ve seen (so, Dr. BG, looks like the "King" — me — is dead, and has been replaced by the new Queen).
And then another reader emails to ask if I think his HDL of 129 is too high.
Well, I still don’t know for sure, only that in the study I profiled in this post, even small increases in HDL were very protective, and to a huge extent.
Many of these patients presenting with CAD had HDL levels, which are associated with excess risk. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is inversely related to the risk of CAD. Even modest increases are associated with lower risk for nonfatal MI or death from CHD. There were 54.6% of patients hospitalized with CAD with admission HDL <40 mg/dL. In addition, fewer than 10% of patients had HDL ≥60 mg/dL. Ideal levels (defined as LDL <70 mg/dL and HDL ≥60 mg/dL) were present in only 1.4% of patients hospitalized with CAD.
But, does that mean it’s OK to take it through the roof?
Well, here’s a clue that perhaps it’s A-OK, maybe even the best of worlds.
A MASSIVE dose of HDL ”good” cholesterol injected into patients after a heart attack can quickly break down fatty deposits in the arteries and might prevent subsequent attacks, Australian scientists have said after early tests of a new therapy derived from donated blood.
In one study, a single infusion of HDL therapy had reduced the amount of fat in leg arteries by 60 per cent after a week, Dr Wright told a briefing in Sydney yesterday. Larger medical trials to establish correct doses and make preliminary assessments of how well the treatment works could start next year.
”Cholesterol is carried to the heart by LDL and carried away by HDL,” Dr Wright said. Company scientists were ”trying to use this natural process to carry cholesterol away from the artery wall and reduce the chance of a second heart attack” – which was a common cause of death in the weeks following a first attack.
Of course, we all know how to get our HDLs up now, don’t we? (Yes, I understand some have had difficulty accomplishing this with their high-fat diets.)
(HT: a commenter on Dr. Eades’ blog)