With so much hype about how "bad" LDL cholesterol is, you may have completely overlooked HDL cholesterol. However, HDL cholesterol plays a very important role in your heart health.
In fact, research suggests that a five-point reduction in HDL cholesterol levels, is linked to a 25% increase in heart disease risk.
So, how does HDL work in the body? Here are a few of the suggested benefits:
HDL removes cholesterol from your bloodstream, and carries it back to the liver.
HDL protects against the formation of plaque in the artery walls.
HDL promotes the removal of cholesterol from cells found in abnormal tissues in the arteries.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of HDL can inhibit atherogenesis.
Increasing Your HDL Cholesterol Levels
There are a number of changes you can make in your diet and lifestyle, which can be very effective for raising HDL cholesterol.
Firstly, limiting your intake of saturated and trans fats w...
Finally, you want more of something instead of less! HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is also known as the "good" cholesterol. HDL removes cholesterol from your bloodstream and carries it back to the liver. I like to think of HDL as a vacuum cleaner, picking up cholesterol LDL leaves behind in your arteries. HDL should be greater than 40 mg/dL, ideally greater than 60 mg/dL.
One of the best ways to increase your HDL is through physical activity, specifically aerobic activity (jogging, swimming, biking, etc.). For results, you need at least 120 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. In this case, vigorous activity does not have more of an impact, but duration does. The longer you work out the greater them impact on HDL. Work your way up to a minimum of 30 minutes 5 days/week. If you're not currently physically active, consult your MD before starting an exercise program.
Alternative Names High-density lipoprotein test Normal Values In general, your risk for heart disease, including a heart attack, increases if your HDL cholesterol level is less than 40 mg/dL. An HDL 60 mg/dL or above helps protect against heart disease. Women tend to have higher HDL cholesterol than men. Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results. What abnormal results mean Low HDL levels may be a sign that you have an increased risk for atherosclerotic heart disease . A low HDL level may also be associated with: Familial combined hyperlipidemia Noninsulin-dependent diabetes (NIDD) Use of certain drugs such as anabolic steroids, antipsychotics, beta blockers, corticosteroids, and protease inhibitors
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