‘Good’ cholesterol may not be good for everyone as previously thought

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“Good” cholesterol may not be equally effective in predicting heart disease risk among adults from different racial and ethnic backgrounds, according to a new study.

Research, published on Monday Journal of the American College of Cardiology, suggests lower levels of high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol — often referred to as “good” cholesterol — were associated with an increased risk of heart attack in white people, but not in black adults.

The study found that higher levels were not protective for any racial group.

The studies that shaped perceptions about “good” cholesterol levels and heart health were conducted in the 1970s with the majority of white adult study participants, the scientists, including those from Oregon Health and Science University, said in a statement.

In the new study, researchers reviewed data from 23,901 US adults who participated in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke Study (REGARDS).

Participants enrolled in the study between 2003-07 and analyzed data collected over a period of 10 to 11 years.

From the data, scientists could assess how cholesterol levels correlate with future cardiovascular events from black and white middle-aged adults without heart disease living across America.

“The goal was to understand this long-established link that labels HDL as beneficial cholesterol, and if it holds true for all races,” said study senior author Nathalie Pamir.

“It is well accepted that low HDL cholesterol levels are harmful, regardless of race. Our research tested those assumptions,” Dr. Pamir said.

During the study time period, 664 black adults and 951 white adults experienced a heart attack or heart attack-related death.

Participants with increased levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides had a modestly increased risk of heart disease, aligning with the findings of a previous study.

But it found that HDL cholesterol levels only predicted increased cardiovascular disease risk for white adults.

The study noted that exceeding the optimal amount of “good” cholesterol may not provide cardiovascular benefits for either group.

“I hope that this type of research shows that risk-prediction algorithms for cardiovascular disease need to be re-looked at. This could mean that our doctors will need to look for higher levels of HDL cholesterol in the future.” Won’t pat you on the back,” Dr. Pamir said.

Rather than having more HDL, the quality of HDL’s function — in taking up and transporting excess cholesterol out of the body — may be more important for supporting heart health.

“The findings suggest that a deeper dive is needed into the epidemiology of lipid metabolism, particularly how race may modify or mediate these relationships,” said Sean Coady, another author of the study.

The researchers call for future research with diverse populations to explore these connections.

“When it comes to heart disease risk factors, they cannot be limited to one race or ethnicity. They need to apply to everyone,” said Dr Pamir.

Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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