High levels of good cholesterol may not be as healthy as you think
The notion of good cholesterol is always in close connection to the idea of being healthy and having a fail-proof heart. For those who cannot make the distinction, cholesterol is regarded as being the silent killer, because in most of the cases it has fatal results without any prior warning. It is one of the reasons why most people would get a tremble only at hearing the name.
But for those who are educated on the subject, there is not that much reason for concern. This is because there is nothing wrong with this substance in itself. It is actually an essential lipid, playing a key role in regulating a lot of our biological processes. Among them, it supports the synthesis of vitamin D, as well as influencing the development of certain hormones.
Without it, it is safe to say we cannot function at all, as living, healthy beings. But this lipid is divided into two distinct classes: HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) and LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) The second one is known as bad cholesterol, known to cause a wide range of problems, especially when in higher than normal concentrations, the other one is the good cholesterol, beneficial, which everybody wants to get as much of as possible.
What are the repercussions of having high levels of LDL in the organism?
Before discussing HDL, or the good cholesterol, let’s have a look at how the bad one could mess up with your health pretty drastically. The factors that can influence the development of unhealthy levels of LDL in the body are:
- Poor lifestyle habits, like smoking, known to deposit the cholesterol, coming from the fatty deposits, onto the liver
- Diets rich in saturated fats
- Health affections like hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes
- A family history of heart diseases and stroke
Now, the problem with LDL is that, when reaching at high enough values, it can cause a wide range of health problems, including atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of the arteries and clothing the blood circulation, higher risk of heart attack, stroke, the risk of experiencing TIA (transient ischaemic attack), mostly known as a mini-stroke, and the infamous PAD (peripheral arterial disease).
For the most part, when LDL reaches dangerous levels, it starts to build in the artery wall and this is where the rest of the problems emerge from.
How about HDL, the good cholesterol?
This type of cholesterol is known as beneficial and it is being promoted as such, with a minor downside – this is not the whole truth. As a matter of fact, the good cholesterol may not be as good and it is not, depending on the concentration. This is the result of several studies that have analyzed the impact of HDL in over 1,7 million subjects, over the course of almost 10 years.
The results showed a disturbing graph, clearly suggesting that those who had high levels of HDL were more likely to die prematurely than those who did not. Turns out that the good cholesterol started to take a toll on our organisms. But what is the cause of that? What exactly happens inside the organisms that cause this unwanted reaction?
Although the answer is certainly unclear, a pattern has been identified in the individuals showing the limit HDL values. They all had severe inflammatory responses and these were responsible for the higher rates of premature deaths than on normal individuals. It is still under debate whether these inflammations were caused by the good cholesterol, but one thing is certain: as it turns out, too much of anything could backfire and have the opposite effect of what we are looking for.
The specialists’ specifications regarding HDL and LDL have not changed during the recent studies, but they intend to raise awareness to constantly control our cholesterol level, whether it is good or bad, and to see our health specialist regularly, in order to keep a close eye on its development.
It could save us from a lot of trouble in the future.