The “good” cholesterol is often presented as beneficial to the health of our heart and our blood vessels. However, this assertion is now challenged. In a new study, researchers have tried to link it to ethnic origin, without finding a causal link.
A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that the cholesterolcholesterol high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, called the “good” cholesterol, may ultimately not be very effective in consistently predicting the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults. The researchers’ goal was to understand this link that identifies HDL as the beneficial cholesterol, and whether this is true for all ethnicities.
While it is accepted that a low HDL cholesterol level is detrimental to cardiovascular health, nothing is less certain for a higher level. Previous work shows that the risk of death increases with these two extremes, the protective effect being at an intermediate level.
Moderate ethnic differences
Surprisingly, the new study finds that low HDL cholesterol was associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in white adults, but not black adults. On the other hand, a high rate of this moleculemolecule was not protective in either group. To arrive at this result, the researchers examined data over a period of 10 years from nearly 24,000 American adults who participated in the Regards study (Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke Study).
During this period, 664 black adults and 951 white adults suffered a cardiac-like event. Due to their low occurrence among the total number of participants and the observational nature of the study, the authors moderate their finding. They say their findings suggest that cardiovascular disease risk calculators using HDL cholesterol may lead to inaccurate predictions for black adults.
“Good” Cholesterol Not So Good
Article of Marie-Celine RayMarie-Celine Raypublished on August 18, 2016
According to US research involving more than 1.7 million people, high or low levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL) are associated with higher mortality. People with average levels would have less risk of premature death.
Cholesterol is an essential lipid in the body, but carried in the blood by two molecules: HDL (for High density lipoprotein) for “good” cholesterol, and LDL (for Low density lipoprotein) for “bad” cholesterol. The “bad” cholesterol is accused of reducing the diameter of the arteries, and therefore of promoting cardiovascular disease. Conversely, the “good” cholesterol is generally presented as beneficial to the health of our heart and our blood vessels. An opinion that is no longer really unanimous…
In a new study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, researchers wanted to analyze the relationship between “good” cholesterol levels and the risk of death. For this, they studied HDL cholesterol levels in more than 1.7 million men (American veterans) who were followed for about nine years. Compared to the group with the lowest HDL cholesterol levels (less than 25 mg/dL), those with intermediate cholesterol levels (between 25 and 50 mg/dL) had the highest risk of death. weak. The relationship between HDL cholesterol levels and mortality followed a U-shaped curve: the risk of death increased with low levels of “good” cholesterol but also with high levels.
In a release of the Washington University (Saint-Louis, United States), Ziyad Al-Aly, author of this research, explained that these results surprised him: “Previously it was thought that high levels of good cholesterol were beneficial. The relationship between increased HDL cholesterol levels and early death is unexpected and still not entirely clear. This will require further study.” He adds that these data may explain why clinical testsclinical tests aimed at increasing “good” cholesterol levels have not yielded good results.
Other work has questioned the so-called benefits of “good” cholesterol. Thus, a 2012 study published in The Lancet showed that high HDL cholesterol levels were not necessarily synonymous with good cardiovascular health.