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A couple of weeks ago, I had some basic blood work done for my routine physical. All the numbers looked pretty good, but my doctor and I were high-fiving each other about my HDL score, which was 88 mg/dL.
Just by way of a quick review, there are lots of different kinds of cholesterol in your blood, and HDL (which stands for high density lipoprotein) is the one we often refer to as the “good” cholesterol. We don’t want it to be too low because having an HDL level below 40 mg/dL puts you at increased risk for heart disease. And that’s why you’ll find several articles in the Nutrition Diva podcast with strategies for increasing your HDL
So, I was feeling pretty smug about having an HDL level that was almost twice that target. But then a couple of days later, a new study came out with some surprising findings.
Although low HDL levels are a risk factor for heart disease, this study found that very high HDL levels (such as mine) may not be cause for celebration. In this study, those with HDL levels higher than 60 also had an increased risk for heart attack or death due to heart disease.
My first call was to my friend and physician Dr. Sanaz Majd to ask her whether or not having high HDL levels is something we need to worry about.