According to a new study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, good cholesterol is linked to a person facing higher risks of dying from cancer, heart disease and other related causes. The results of the study suggest that having good cholesterol at a low level doesn’t mean seem to be a risk factor of heart disease on its own. Also, raising a person’s HDL doesn’t mean that it will reduce the risk of experiencing a heart disease.
A lot of patients are treated with statins for lowering their LDL, or what is known as bad cholesterol, and to reduce the risk they face of experiencing a cardiac episode. Statins are medications, used by such patients, that able to block the enzyme which is required by the human body for producing cholesterol. But there are patients who don’t respond to such treatment. That is why HDL is being studied by researchers to observe if raising a person’s good cholesterol level might have the same effects as lowering the level of bad cholesterol.
For the purpose of this research more than 631,000 people were considered. All of the individuals didn’t have any prior cardiovascular conditions. The individuals were selected by using the CANHEART cohort. CANHEAR cohort is a research database which links together various datasets based on individuals and the population as a whole in Ontario, Canada. It covers cardiac risk factors, medications, sociodemographics, etc. The individuals for the study were between the ages 40-105. The average age was 57.2. All of them had lived for at least two years in Ontario, as of 1st January, 2008. The current research is also the first study that evaluates the link between the death of a person and HDL, being exposed to the same environment and health care system.
Based on HDL, the individuals were divided into two groups. Individuals living healthier lifestyles had their levels of HDL compared to habits that were less healthy. The results showed that socioeconomically disadvantaged people, whose lifestyle behaviors were not adequately healthy, had the lowest HDL levels.
Furthermore, even when the lifestyles factors were taken into account, the levels of low HDL were still linked to higher risks of experiencing death due to cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular diseases. It was observed that individuals who had very levels of HDL were at an increased risk of dying due to non-cardiovascular diseases, such as cancer.
While the current study is similar to previously conducted research that shows the link between low levels of HDL and an increased risk of dying due to cardiovascular disease, it is the first study that also presents a similar link between dying due to other diseases and levels of HDL.
According to the researchers, the results from this study show that HDL might not be an important risk factor as previously believed with regards to cardiovascular disease.
The current study isn’t without its limitations though. A few potentially significant HDL aspects weren’t examined by the team of researchers. These aspects include the association with sizes of particles, subclasses or function with non-cardiovascular and cardiovascular mortality. The researchers also didn’t have the entire population’s alcohol use or smoking status data. But they were able to supplement the required date through an additional survey.
Further research is required to better understand the levels of HDL and what link they have to a person’s risk of dying due to cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular diseases.