Friday, August 5, 2011

HDL: is higher really better?

Follow this link  to gain a better understanding about HDL from Dr. Joel Fuhrman.

I have been confused about HDL.  For over four years, I have followed a whole foods plant-based diet.  As a result my total cholesterol has been reduced from 220 to 154, my LDL (bad cholesterol) is at 92, my triglycerides in the low 100s.  This is all good, but my HDL, the good cholesterol, the type of cholesterol that transports the artery clogging type of cholesterol back to the liver, hangs around 40, which is 'borderline.'

In this article, Dr. Fuhrman emphasizes that good cholesterol will not necessarily go up when we adopt a better diet.  Also, in my case, I exercise MUCH more than most people.  Exercise is supposed to raise HDL and provide extra protection against coronary artery disease.  With great diet and lots of exercise my HDL level is still of concern.  But, as Dr. Fuhrman points out, sometimes when total cholesterol falls, both HDL and LDL fall as well.  If your lifestyle is healthy, your total cholesterol is low and your LDL is in good shape, HDL levels should not be a worry.

The bottom line - our lifestyle, especially the food that we eat is the best determinant of heart attack risk.  Some doctors might prescribe a medication to raise my HDL.  It is clear to me, that would be a big mistake.

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