Researchers claim that people with extremely high levels of good cholesterol have a higher mortality rate than people with normal levels.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance known as a lipid and is vital for the normal functioning of the body.
It has long been thought that a high level of “good” cholesterol in the blood, also known as HDL, is better for health.
Traditionally, we have been told by physicians not to worry about it, which is scientifically known as high-density lipoprotein.
New research, however, finds an alarming association between high levels of this cholesterol type and excessive mortality.
Researchers, in order to conduct the study, analyzed the data of 1,16,000 people. These people were followed by the team for an average of six years. The results were shocking as it revealed more than 10,500 deaths.
For men with extremely high levels, the mortality rate was 106 per cent higher than the normal group, while for women it was found to be 68 per cent higher.
People who had medium levels of HDL in their blood were found to have the lowest mortality. For women, this level was 2.4 mmol/L while for men it was 1.9 mmol/L.
“These results radically change the way we understand ‘good’ cholesterol. Doctors have been used to congratulating patients who had a very high level of HDL in their blood. But we should no longer do so, as this study shows a dramatically higher mortality rate,” said Borge Nordestgaard, Professor at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
Professor Nordestgaard now believes that we need to adjust our thinking about levels of good cholesterol, commenting that, “It appears that we need to remove the focus from HDL as an important health indicator, the ‘bad’ cholesterol, are probably better health indicators.”
The study was published in the European Heart Journal.