Can “Good” Cholesterol Become “Bad” Cholesterol?
Also known as good cholesterol or HDL (for short), also known as high-density lipoprotein, indicates the amount of lipids sent to the liver for removal, and if our cholesterol levels are high, it indicates a healthy cardiovascular system.
Good cholesterol and bad cholesterol? What is it and how does it affect us? Lipid profiles in the lab can tell us a person’s cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Bad cholesterol” refers to low-density lipoproteins or LDL (for short), and these indicate that we have too much lipids and fats in our blood. High levels put you at risk for cardiovascular disease.
The ideal level is 70 to 100 mg/dl to reduce the risk of heart disease; 100 to 129 mg/dl is a reasonable level, 130 to 159 mg/dl starts to be high and bad, 160 mg/dl is already considered high and is dangerous at higher levels.
Good cholesterol or HDL (for short), also called high-density lipoprotein, indicates the amount of lipids sent to the liver to be removed, and if our levels are high, it means we have a healthy cardiovascular system.
HDL levels of 40-49 mg/dL for men and 50-59 mg/dL for women are considered good, but below this level there is a health risk; above 60 mg/dL is a very good level.
We call this “good” cholesterol. But sometimes high levels of this HDL or high-density lipoprotein – that’s the technical name for it – can be bad for your health. Yes, “good” cholesterol can become “bad,” scientists at Cambridge University recently discovered, contrary to the advice we’ve been given by doctors for years.
Is It Really Possible To Lower Our Cholesterol Without Drugs Simply By Changing Our Diet?
One of the reasons HDL is considered benign is that it helps clean up the fatty debris in veins and arteries – the fat that makes up the dreaded “bad” cholesterol.
For years, researchers at Cambridge University have been trying to use certain drugs to raise HDL levels in the blood as a mechanism to combat the risk of heart disease. “Bad” cholesterol can lead to clogged veins and arteries.
However, in some cases, attempts have failed, leading researchers to believe that something else is going on in the body.
What Is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fatty substance (lipid) that is found in some foods, but it is also produced by the liver. It is very important because it is used to make estrogen, testosterone and vitamin D. It is carried by proteins in the blood.
There are also two types of cholesterol: LDL, or low-level lipoprotein (associated with saturated fats) is “bad” because it is thought to cause hard plaque, which is deposited on the walls of arteries and leads to blockages that can lead to problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
High-strength lipoprotein, or HDL, is “good” because it “traps” LDL cholesterol and transports it to the liver, where it is removed. The better the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol, the healthier it is.
Currently, it is recommended that LDL levels do not exceed 3 mmol/l (millimoles per liter) and HDL levels do not exceed 1 mmol/l.
The Good And The Bad
Given these results, the researchers question the importance of increasing HDL levels in patients, but nonetheless, the researchers believe that HDL levels can be a very useful tool for predicting heart attack risk.
“Ultimately, we want to genetically test people with high HDL levels to make sure they don’t have mutations that increase the risk of heart disease, as in the Cambridge study, and that increasing good cholesterol levels doesn’t protect them from heart disease,” University of Pennsylvania researcher Daniel Reid told the BBC.
Dr Tim Chico of the University of Sheffield said the findings also challenged the notion of ‘good or bad’ in relation to patients’ health status.
‘The importance of this study is that it shows that, like other studies, it’s not so easy to say ‘good’ or ‘bad’ cholesterol,” he said.
“These results suggest that how the body deals with HDL is more important in determining heart attack risk than HDL levels in the blood,” added Peter Weisberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation.