What Causes High Hdl Levels
A few things can push your HDL level above 60 mg/dL. You can control some of these factors. Others you canât.
Your genes. Certain genes make you more likely to have high HDL cholesterol. Inherited high HDL sometimes protects against heart disease, but sometimes it increases the risk.
For example, people with a change in the gene SCARB1 have larger than normal HDL cholesterol particles in their blood that increase their heart disease risk.
Some people of Japanese descent inherit genes that make them produce too little of the protein CETP, which helps carry cholesterol around the body. Having low CETP leads to high HDL levels in your blood, but it doesn’t seem to increase the risk for heart disease.
If you have high HDL and close relatives like your parents or siblings have had heart disease, a heart attack, or a stroke, your doctor might send you to a genetic counselor or cardiologist for more testing.
Your diet. Foods that are high in unsaturated fats, such as fish, nuts, and green leafy vegetables raise HDL in a good way. Other foods increase HDL cholesterol too much. They are some of the same foods that also raise unhealthy LDL cholesterol, like:
- Red meat
- Cream and other full-fat dairy products
- Cookies, cakes, and other baked goods
- Fried foods
Drinking too much alcohol can also raise HDL levels.
Medications. Medicines like these can increase HDL levels:
Heart Uk Recommendations For People With High Levels Of Hdl
If you have a family history of early heart disease
Ideally your doctor should contact a lipid specialist for advice if:
- your HDL cholesterol level is higher than average with no obvious cause
- and other people in your family, such as a parent or sibling, have heart disease and were diagnosed below the age of 60.
If your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are high
If your total cholesterol is over 7.5mmol, with HDL over 2.5mmol, then your doctor should base their treatment decision mainly on your LDL cholesterol .
Raised LDL cholesterol puts your heart health at risk so it needs to be brought under control.
Note that the TC/HDL ratio may be misleading if your HDL is high.
Look after your overall health
If you have high cholesterol, its important to lower your risk of heart disease overall. Try to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle and manage any other health problems you have that can lead to heart disease. For example:
How Do I Know What My Hdl Level Is
A blood test can measure your cholesterol levels, including HDL. When and how often you should get this test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:
For people who are age 19 or younger::
- The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
- Children should have the test again every 5 years
- Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke
For people who are age 20 or older::
- Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
- Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years
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What Are The Types Of Cholesterol
Cholesterol moves throughout the body carried by lipoproteins in the blood. These lipoproteins include:
- Low-density lipoprotein is one of the two main lipoproteins. LDL is often called the bad cholesterol.
- High-density lipoprotein is the other main lipoprotein. HDL is often called the good cholesterol.
- Very-low-density lipoproteins are particles in the blood that carry triglycerides.
How High Is Too High
Very high HDL cholesterol levels not only don’t protect you more, but they might be harmful. In one study, people who had HDL cholesterol levels above 60 mg/dL were nearly 50% more likely to have a heart attack or die from heart disease than people whose HDL levels were between 41 and 60 mg/dL.
Why might higher HDL levels be harmful? Researchers don’t know for sure, but they have some ideas.
Very high HDL levels could slow the process of clearing LDL cholesterol from your arteries. When LDL cholesterol builds up in these blood vessels, it forms clumps called plaques that slow or block blood flow. Eventually a chunk of plaque can break free and form a clot, which could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
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What Causes Low Hdl Cholesterol
There are many reasons why some people have low HDL and others have high HDL. Genes appear to play the most important role by determining how much HDL cholesterol your body makes and the proportion of different subtypes.
Lifestyle choices also affect HDL levels. Smoking, carrying too many pounds, and lack of physical activity tend to lower HDL. So does a diet high in refined carbohydrates . Medications such as beta blockers, anabolic steroids, progestins, and benzodiazepines can also depress HDL.
How Is High Cholesterol Treated
There are several ways to lower high blood cholesterol , including lifestyle changes or medication, or both. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine which therapy is best for you.
Healthcare providers like to start with the least invasive treatments when possible, such as lifestyle changes. Youll be advised to:
- Avoid tobacco. If you do smoke, quit. Smoking is bad for you in many ways, and reducing your level of good cholesterol is one of them.
- Change the way you eat. Limit the number of trans fats and saturated fat. Eat heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish and whole grains. Limit red meat, sugary products and dairy products made with whole milk.
- Get more exercise. Try to get about 150 minutes of physical activity every week, or about 30 minutes per day for most days of the week.
- Keep a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, talk to your healthcare provider about safe ways to do this. Youll see results even before you reach your ideal weight. Losing even 10% of your body weight makes a difference in your cholesterol levels.
- Reduce the effect of negative emotions. Learn healthy ways to deal with anger, stress or other negative emotions.
- Control blood sugar and blood pressure. Make sure you follow your healthcare providers instructions for blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes, and for keeping blood pressure in the healthy range.
- Atorvastatin .
- Simvastatin .
- Pitavastatin .
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What Is The Difference Between Good Cholesterol And Bad Cholesterol
Good cholesterol is known as high-density lipoprotein . It removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. Low-density lipoprotein is the bad cholesterol.
If your total cholesterol level is high because of a high LDL level, you may be at higher risk of heart disease or stroke. But, if your total cholesterol level is high only because of a high HDL level, youre probably not at higher risk.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in your blood. When you eat more calories than your body can use, it turns the extra calories into triglycerides.
Changing your lifestyle can improve your cholesterol levels, lower LDL and triglycerides, and raise HDL.
Your ideal cholesterol level will depend on your risk for heart disease.
- Total cholesterol level less than 200 is best, but it depends on your HDL and LDL levels.
- LDL cholesterol levels less than 130 is best, but this depends on your risk for heart disease.
- HDL cholesterol levels 60 or higher reduces your risk for heart disease.
- Triglycerides less than 150 milligrams per deciliter is best.
Lack Of Physical Activity
Certainly related to the above, insufficient physical activity can also drive LDL higher. The good news, however, is that even modest increases in the amount of exercise you get can help a great deal. Ideally, doctors may want you getting up to 90 minutes a day of physical activity however, even 30 to 45 minutes regularly can be helpful.
At bare minimum, the surgeon general recommends that adults get 2.5 hours of moderate exercise every week. This can include:
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How Can I Raise My Hdl Level
If your HDL level is too low, lifestyle changes may help. These changes may also help prevent other diseases, and make you feel better overall:
- Eat a healthy diet. To raise your HDL level, you need to eat good fats instead of bad fats. This means limiting saturated fats, which include full-fat milk and cheese, high-fat meats like sausage and bacon, and foods made with butter, lard, and shortening. You should also avoid trans fats, which may be in some margarines, fried foods, and processed foods like baked goods. Instead, eat unsaturated fats, which are found in avocado, vegetable oils like olive oil, and nuts. Limit carbohydrates, especially sugar. Also try to eat more foods naturally high in fiber, such as oatmeal and beans.
- Stay at a healthy weight. You can boost your HDL level by losing weight, especially if you have lots of fat around your waist.
- Exercise. Getting regular exercise can raise your HDL level, as well as lower your LDL. You should try to do 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise on most, if not all, days.
- Avoid cigarettes.Smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke can lower your HDL level. If you are a smoker, ask your health care provider for help in finding the best way for you to quit. You should also try to avoid secondhand smoke.
- Limit alcohol. Moderate alcohol may lower your HDL level, although more studies are needed to confirm that. What we do know is that too much alcohol can make you gain weight, and that lowers your HDL level.
What Is High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is made by the liver and obtained through the diet. It can be found in the fats in your blood. High cholesterol is when you have high amounts of cholesterol in the blood.
Cholesterol is essential in order for your body to continue building healthy cells, however having high cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease. This is because it can lead to a build-up of fatty deposits in your blood vessels, which overtime can make it difficult for enough blood to flow through your arteries and consequently to your heart.
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Treating High Hdl Cholesterol
If you don’t have any symptoms or other heart disease risks, you might not need any treatment for high HDL cholesterol. You may be able to lower your HDL by drinking less alcohol and eating a low-fat diet. It might also help to change your medication if you take a statin or another drug that raises HDL levels.
Stay on top of your cholesterol levels with regular blood tests. Ask your doctor how often you need cholesterol screening based on your risks.
When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider About Your Cholesterol Levels
In truth, your healthcare provider will probably talk to you about your numbers first. As always, contact your provider if you have any new or worsening pain or other uncomfortable feelings. Make sure you know what medications you take and what they are expected to do. Call the provider if you have a reaction to the medicine.
Before you go to the office, and after you have had a cholesterol test, it helps to have a list of questions prepared about your test results and any proposed treatment.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
When considering cholesterol numbers, its important to remember that you really have the ability to make those numbers go in your favor. What you choose to eat, how much you are able to move and how you deal with lifes ups and downs are things that you can influence.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/31/2020.
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Can You Get Rid Of Cholesterol Deposits
Researchers are working on ways to eliminate plaque from coronary arteries. One method that has been proposed involves using combinations of medicines in healthy people aged 25 to 55 years. It is suggested that getting the levels of cholesterol down very low will allow arteries to clear up and heal up.
Several researchers believe that the way to reverse heart disease and prevent it in the first place is found in a whole-food, plant-based diet. Studies have been done that have shown that limiting nutrition to whole foods that are plant-based have been successful in reducing blood cholesterol and even, in some cases, lessening plaque buildup.
Other Conditions And Medications Associated With High Hdl
High HDL is also linked to other conditions, including:
- thyroid disorders
- inflammatory diseases
- alcohol consumption
Sometimes cholesterol-controlling medications can also raise HDL levels. These are usually taken to lower LDL, triglyceride, and total cholesterol levels. Medication types that have been linked to increased HDL levels include:
- bile acid sequestrants, which decrease fat absorption from the foods you eat
- cholesterol absorption inhibitors
- omega-3 fatty acid supplements, which lower triglycerides in the blood, but also increase HDL cholesterol
- statins, which block the liver from creating more cholesterol
Increasing HDL levels is usually a positive side effect in people who have low HDL levels as in most cases, it decreases their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
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What Causes An Elevated Level Of Hdl
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Is High Hdl Risky
I never worried much about heart disease because my HDL cholesterol has always been high. Now I hear too much can be bad. How high is too high?
Andrew Weil, M.D. | February 1, 2018
HDL cholesterol is called good because in this form it travels away from the arteries and back to the liver for elimination from the body. Weve long believed that the higher your HDL, the lower your risk of heart disease. Indeed, studies have suggested that each increase of four milligrams per deciliter of blood of HDL results in a 10 percent decrease in the risk of adverse coronary events. Both HDL and LDL cholesterol levels are influenced by heredity, diet, weight, exercise, age, gender, alcohol consumption, and stress.
The latest news about HDL comes from a study conducted in Denmark and published in August 2017, which found for the first time that very high HDL is associated with increased risk of death from all causes, not just cardiovascular disease. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen tracked 116,508 men and women for an average of six years. During that period, 10,678 of these individuals died. The investigators reported that men with extremely high HDL levels ranging from 97 to 115 had a 36 percent increased risk of death. That risk doubled among those whose HDL exceeded 116. Women with HDL levels above 135 had a 68 percent increased risk. Extremely high HDL was rare: only 2.3 percent of the men had levels exceeding 97, AND 0.3 percent of the women had HDL above 135.
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Understanding The Highs And Lows Of Cholesterol
You know that too much is dangerous. But what is cholesterol, anyway? Where does it come from? And is it all bad?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is found in every cell in the body. Its either made by the body or absorbed from food. Your body needs cholesterol to make important steroid hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and vitamin D. Its also used to make bile acids in the liver these absorb fat during digestion.
So some cholesterol is necessary but bad cholesterol is something you can do without. Excess bad cholesterol in the bloodstream can deposit into the bodys arteries. These deposits are called plaques and result in atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This is the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and other vascular problems.
Your total cholesterol level is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream, which includes several components:
- LDL cholesterol: LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. This is known as the bad cholesterol, which directly contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries. Very low density lipoprotein, or VLDL cholesterol, is another type, which is a precursor to LDL.
- Total cholesterol is VLDL cholesterol plus LDL cholesterol plus HDL cholesterol.
- HDL cholesterol: HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. Experts think at optimal levels it might help the body get rid of LDL cholesterol.
And guess what? This buildup can start as early as your 20s.
How Can You Prevent High Cholesterol Levels And Coronary Heart Disease
Prevention methods are very much the same as treatment methods. First, dont smoke. If you do smoke, make plans to quit now. Find ways to add physical activity to each of your days. Take steps to keep your weight in a healthy range. Eat well. Consider following the Mediterranean diet. It is the only diet proven to reduce the risk of heart disease. Take care of any other medical conditions you might have by following your healthcare providers advice and instructions. Learn to really relax and calm down.
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What Kind Of Test Measures Cholesterol
Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five years. Your healthcare provider will order a blood test that will indicate how much cholesterol is carried in your bloodstream. This test will give your cholesterol levels. Your provider might also order what is called a lipid panel or a lipid profile. The panel gives you the following numbers:
- Total cholesterol.
- Non-HDL cholesterol.
- Ratio between cholesterol and HDL.
There are advanced tests that break down the size and shapes of LDL cholesterol levels, and also give the LDL particle number, but those are not normally ordered. Some test makers say that the more advanced tests are better at indicating who is at risk for heart disease, but most providers still feel that the usual tests are adequate.