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High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL-C)

 

High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL-C) HDL is the particle which carries cholesterol back to the liver to dispose of it. Therefore it is commonly referred to as the “good” cholesterol. Having a good concentration of these particles has been shown to help protect against heart disease if present in adequate amounts. A measurement of the HDL-C (or the cholesterol carried by HDL) is an indicator of the function and concentration of these particles. The American Heart Association recommends of HDL levels for women of 50 mg/dL; levels less than that actually increase the risk of heart disease.1

HDL helps to carry cholesterol from other parts of the body to the liver where it is excreted from the body.2 Some studies indicate that HDL also “removes excess cholesterol from plaque in arteries” and slows down the process that leads to clogged arteries.3

HDL has been shown to increase as LDL and triglycerides decrease, with aerobic exercise, with low cholesterol/low-saturated fat diets, and with smoking cessation.4 Also, persons with increased HDL are more likely to have Pattern A (large, buoyant) particles.5



 

1 What’s the Difference Between LDL and HDL Cholesterol? American Heart Association. 2006. www.americanheart.org

2 High Blood Cholesterol. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. February, 2006. www.nhlbi.nih.gov

3 What’s the Difference Between LDL and HDL Cholesterol? American Heart Association. 2006. www.americanheart.org

4 Ziajka, P.E. Using VAP Expanded Lipid Testing from Atherotech to Develop Optimal Patient Treatment Plans, (Third Edition). 2002.

5 Wong, M. Assessment of Lipoproteins by Gradient Gel Electrophoresis. Lecture, Duke University Medical Center, December 15, 2006.

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