"Good" cholesterol does not protect against heart attacks

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Doubts about the effect of "good" cholesterol

"Good" cholesterol has so far been associated with a reduced risk of heart and vascular diseases. But the current study by a research team led by Dr. Sekar Kathiresan from Harvard Medical School in Boston comes to the conclusion that the so-called HDL cholesterol does not necessarily lead to a reduced risk of heart attack.

As part of their investigations, the researchers evaluated numerous previous studies to examine a possible connection between HDL cholesterol levels (HDL = high density lipoprotein) and the risk of a heart attack. The influence of “bad” LDL cholesterol (LDL = Low Density Lipoprotein) was also analyzed. The data obtained contradict the previous "concept that the increase in HDL cholesterol levels is associated with a reduction in the risk of myocardial infarctions" (heart attacks), Dr. Sekar Kathiresan and colleagues in the specialist magazine "The Lancet".

No reduced heart attack risk from HDL cholesterol The results of the US researchers fundamentally question the previous assumption that HDL cholesterol has a positive effect on heart attacks. Dr. As part of their research, Kathiresan and colleagues reviewed the data from almost 150,000 patients from numerous previous studies regarding the relationship between HDL cholesterol levels and the risk of heart attack. Even patients who had significantly higher levels of “good” cholesterol due to their genetics were therefore not subject to a reduced risk of a myocardial infarction. Theoretically, the test subjects would have expected a 13 percent lower risk of heart attack, but in fact no connection with the likelihood of a heart attack could be found. With the "bad" cholesterol, however, the previous assumption has been confirmed. LDL cholesterol therefore increases the risk of artery blockage, general heart and vascular diseases and also heart attacks.

Doubts about the effect of HDL-increasing drugs The researchers in the article "HDL cholesterol and the risk of myocardial infarction: A Mendelian randomized study"
The results presented also raise doubts about the previous use of HDL-increasing medications for the prevention of heart attacks, especially since the preparations are sometimes accompanied by considerable side effects. If the HDL cholesterol level really does not have any impact on the risk of heart attack, patients could confidently do without medication in the future. (fp)

Also read about cholesterol:
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Image: Rita Thielen / pixelio.de

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