High 'good' cholesterol may be bad

Although HDL cholesterol is typically thought of as 'good' cholesterol, new data from a large study suggests that at very high levels, it may actually increase the risk of coronary artery disease.

On the other hand, apolipoprotein A-I or apoA-I - which like HDL cholesterol has been linked to a reduced heart disease risk - continues to show this association at very high levels, according to the report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

To gauge the impact of very high levels of HDL cholesterol and apoA-I on cardiovascular risk, Dr John J. P. Kastelein from the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues analysed data from the so-called IDEAL study.

Increased risk of coronary event
IDEAL, which included 8888 patients, assessed the benefits of high-dose statin therapy for preventing the recurrence of cardiovascular events.

In IDEAL, very high levels of HDL cholesterol were tied to an increased risk of a major coronary event, the researchers found. After making adjustment for levels of apoA-I and other factors, each 12-point increase in HDL cholesterol raised the risk by 21 percent.

A persistently negative association was noted between apoA-I levels and the risk of a major coronary event, the researchers report.

In an editorial, Dr Jacques Genest, from McGill University in Montreal, points out some of the implications of the apparent link between very high levels of HDL cholesterol and elevated cardiovascular risk. "First, naturally occurring high levels of HDL cholesterol may not protect against heart disease, and second, and herein lies the most important and provocative finding, HDL cholesterol as a therapeutic goal may be fraught with potential dangers." - (Reuters Health)

SOURCE: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, February 12, 2008.

Read more:
Revealed: benefits of cholesterol
Cholesterol Centre

February 2008

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Eskom has considered continuous load shedding at Stage 2, instead of introducing it when the power system faces a crunch. What are your thoughts?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'm all for it - we're going to have power cuts regardless, so we might as well have some stability to better plan our lives
45% - 4409 votes
No thanks! I prefer having periods of no load shedding and we cannot normalise this crisis
55% - 5349 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.