The Impact of “Good” Cholesterol Later in Life

SYoung Health Guide
  • I have frequently written on this blog about the importance of high levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) in fighting the onset of heart disease. In my opinion, the boosting of HDL levels is a key factor in fighting heart disease.


    However, as we age high levels of HDL affect more than your cholesterol and heart. According to a recent study published in the Archives of Neurology, there is evidence of a link between heart disease and dementia, and doctors believe that boosting HDL may be a way that people can reduce their risk of both brain and heart trouble later in life.


    The study followed over 1,000 seniors with no history of memory trouble over the course of four years. The participants underwent a battery of blood, brain, and memory tests every 18 months, and the results identified over 100 cases of suspected Alzheimer's disease. When researchers compared the cholesterol levels of the participants with and without Alzheimer's, they discovered that the participants with the highest HDL counts (over 55 mg/dL), had a 60% reduced risk of developing the disease compared to those with lower levels of HDL (under 39 mg/dL).

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    While more research is necessary to verify the positive impact of high levels of HDL on memory loss and Alzheimer's disease, the role of higher levels of HDL in protecting the heart is an established fact. When I see my cardiologist to go over my blood tests, my HDL level is the one number that I watch closely and am always working on improving.


    Exercise, diet, monitoring sugar intake, and use of alcohol in moderation are great ways to boost your HDL. Dietitian, and HealthCentral blogger, Lisa Nelson provides some great tips on how to boost your HDL in this article. And don't forget about the additional benefit of boosting your HDL; dropping those unwanted pounds.   

Published On: January 05, 2011