High-density lipoprotein (HDL), which has been called the “good cholesterol” by medical experts, is being re-examined after a new study questions the benefits of this type of cholesterol across racial lines. .
Researchers from the Knight Cardiovascular Institute at Oregon Health & Science University analyzed 23,901 medical profiles from a Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study and compared risk factors for stroke. cardiovascular events in middle-aged black and white patients.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a medical research agency under the US Department of Health and Human Services, and was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology on Monday, November 21. .
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Of the thousands of REGARDS participants analyzed, the researchers limited their results to patients who had enrolled in the study between 2003 and 2007, and then followed the patients’ medical records for a period of 10 to 11 years.
Black and white participants in the study are said to have similar cholesterol levels and underlying risk factors for heart disease, including diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking.
Over the ten-year period, researchers found that 664 black patients and 951 white patients had suffered a heart attack or heart attack-related death.
“It is well accepted that low HDL cholesterol levels are detrimental, regardless of race. Our research tested these hypotheses,” wrote Nathalie Pamir, lead author of the study, in a statement, according to the NIH.
“The goal was to understand this long-established link that qualifies HDL as beneficial cholesterol, and whether this is true for all ethnicities,” added Pamir, associate professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. .
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High-density lipoprotein would have been viewed favorably, as it has been shown to absorb cholesterol from the blood and return it to the liver, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The liver is said to remove cholesterol from the body, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke if HDL cholesterol levels are high.
According to the CDC, low-density lipoproteins (LDL), also known as “bad cholesterol,” make up the bulk of the body’s cholesterol.
Having high LDL cholesterol levels has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
“When your body has too much LDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol can build up on the walls of your blood vessels,” the CDC wrote in an online cholesterol explainer. “This buildup is called ‘plaque’.”
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The new study’s analysis of REGARDS data confirmed that high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (neutral fats) lead to “mildly increased risks of cardiovascular disease,” according to the NIH.
According to the study, low levels of HDL cholesterol increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in white patients, but the same is not true for black patients.
At the same time, the study determined that high HDL cholesterol levels are not always associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular events, regardless of racial group.
The study authors conclude that cardiovascular disease risk calculators that use HDL cholesterol readings may return an inaccurate prediction for black patients.
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“HDL cholesterol has long been an enigmatic risk factor for cardiovascular disease,” wrote Sean Coady, associate chief of the epidemiology division of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, in a statement.
“The results suggest that a deeper dive into the epidemiology of lipid metabolism is warranted,” Coady continued. “Especially in terms of how race can alter or mediate these relationships.”
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Fullthere The published study can be viewed on the Journal of the American College of Cardiology website at jacc.org.
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