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Researchers Find Interesting Effect of Good Cholesterol


Medical experts refer to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) as the “good cholesterol.” Now they’re revisiting it. New research questions the value of this type of cholesterol across all racial boundaries.

Researchers from the Knight Cardiovascular Institute at Oregon Health & Science University inspected 23,901 medical specimens from a Study of Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Strokes (REGARDS).

In addition, they compared risk factors for cardiovascular events in middle-aged Black participants and White patients.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) backed the study. It is a medical research institute and part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, the researcher published the study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on Monday, November 21st.

Researchers narrowed down their findings to the thousands of REGARDS respondents who participated in the study between 2003 and 2007. They also tracked the patients’ medical histories over a period of 10 to 11 years.

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Differences and Similarities

Furthermore, Black and White respondents reportedly had the same cholesterol levels. In addition, risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, hypertension, and smoking, were similar.

For the past decades, researchers discovered that 664 Black participants and 951 White participants underwent a heart attack or a heart attack-linked death. 

“It’s been well accepted that low HDL cholesterol levels are detrimental, regardless of race. Our research tested those assumptions,” the study’s senior author, Nathalie Pamir, said in a statement, per the NIH. 

“The goal was to understand this long-established link that labels HDL as the beneficial cholesterol, and if that’s true for ethnicities.” 

Notably, Pamir serves as an associate medicine professional at Oregon Health & Science University, Portland. 

They had favorably watched high-density lipoprotein. This is due to its cholesterol-absorption effects in the blood. Furthermore, it takes the HDL to the liver, per the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The liver allegedly dislodges cholesterol from the body. This can reduce an individual’s potential risk of heart disease and stroke if high HDL cholesterol levels exist. 

Good and Bad Cholesterol

According to the CDC, low-density lipoproteins (LDL), widely known as “bad cholesterol,” make up the majority of the body’s cholesterol.

If a patient possesses high levels of LDL, then he may be subject to a higher chance of heart disease and stroke. 

“When your body has too much LDL cholesterol, the LDL cholesterol can build up on the walls of your blood vessels,” the CDC said. “This buildup is called ‘plaque.’” 

The novel research’s probe of the REGARDS data affirmed that high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (neutral fats) led to “modestly increased risks for cardiovascular disease,” per the NIH. 

They found that lower rates of HDL raised cardiovascular disease chances for White participants. However, it wasn’t the case for Black participants, per the study. 

Meanwhile, the study identified that high rates of HDL cholesterol don’t mean a lower risk of cardiovascular cases – no matter the race. 

The study’s authors deduced that cardiovascular disease risk determinators that use HDL cholesterol level measurements could come back with a defective forecast for Black participants. 

“HDL cholesterol has long been an enigmatic risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” Sian Coady said in a statement. Coady is a deputy branch chief of epidemiology at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Division of Cardiovascular Sciences. 

“The findings suggest that a deeper dive into the epidemiology of lipid metabolism is warranted,” Coady added. “Especially in terms of how race may modify or mediate these relationships.”

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