You think you did your part in preventing risk of heart disease by avoiding oily junk food. Think again. While you avoided the risk of increased bad cholesterol, did you do enough to counter it with good cholesterol? Recent study suggests that an adequate level of ‘good cholesterol’ is as essential as avoiding bad cholesterol to keep away from heart ailments. Not having enough good cholesterol may also prove bad for health. The findings of the study showed individuals, under the age of 50, having abnormally low good cholesterol and being at increased risk of having a heart attack.
There are two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol to and from the blood cells. Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) and High-Density Lipoprotein( HDL). LDL cholesterol is considered to be the “bad” cholesterol because it contributes to plaque – a thick, hard deposit that can clog arteries increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. HDL cholesterol on the other hand is known as the good cholesterol as it helps remove excess fat and LDL cholesterol from the arteries and prevent clogging.
Lead author Bradley Collins, student at Harvard Medical School said, “In this study of younger heart attack patients, low HDL-C was the most common abnormality, seen in approximately 90 per cent of the men and 75 per cent of the women.”
The team identified 813 men under 45 years old and women under 50 years old who had been treated for a heart attack for the study and concluded that lower HDL can also put individuals, especially young people, at risk of a stroke. The researchers said that healthy levels of HDL-C (above 40 in men, above 50 in women) can help protect against heart attacks and strokes, which is partly due to HDL-C’s role in clearing bad cholesterol from the arteries, preventing blood clots and reducing inflammation.
The study is set to be presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session in Washington. Researches added saying that HDL can be raised by eating more fruit and vegetables while avoiding unhealthy fats, avoiding trans-fats a certain lifestyle changes like giving up smoking, being physically active etc.