This section of my website used to be dedicated to triathlon training, personal race results and certification reviews, like Turbo Kick. I am expanding it to include more generic health & fitness topics. Also, I talk a lot about "D" -- he's my husband (Dave Liu)!

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Increase Your HDL

WSJ article today (subscription may be required) about how people should focus not only on lowering total cholesterol and lowering LDL (low-density lipoprotein or "bad cholesterol"), but also increasing HDL (high-density lipoprotein or "good cholesterol").

"Some new studies suggest that raising good cholesterol may be as important -- or possibly even better -- than trying to lower bad cholesterol. Boosting HDL appears to make a drastic difference in lowering risk for heart attack and stroke and even appears to slow the progression of existing heart disease."
"Good cholesterol is so important that a high HDL can literally wipe out other risk factors, like smoking and being overweight, when doctors attempt to calculate risk for heart disease. That means an overweight woman with a family history of heart disease -- but who also has a high HDL -- would have roughly the same risk as a slim person with a family history of heart disease."

The article also says that, "Recent guidelines recommend an HDL of at least 40 mg/dl in men and 50 in women. But ideally, the most benefit comes with an HDL over 60." I've recreated the chart in the article below that shows ways to increase your HDL.

Methods to Increase Your HDL
Method           Comment
Stop smoking Boosts HDL and heart health in general
Lose weight Modest HDL boost, but good for overall health
Exercise Biggest jump occurs with intense aerobic exercise
Fats Dietary fats raise HDL, but switch to monounsaturated types, like olive oil
Alcohol Raises HDL, but doctors urge moderation
Hormone HDL goes up, but no proven heart-therapy benefit
Drugs Biggest gains, but usually reserved for high-risk patients

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