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High Level of 'Good' Cholesterol Alone May Not Protect Heart
Date:1/13/2011

h, doesn't necessarily predict their function is going to be high," Rader said. "And just because their HDL is low, doesn't mean their HDL function, or their ability to remove cholesterol, is low."

Statins, a popular cholesterol-lowering medication, lowers levels of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. When LDL is engulfed by macrophages, it generally gets stuck in the arterial walls, accumulates and forms plaques.

Statins do not effect HDL cholesterol levels, Rader said.

There is no test available to the public for HDL function, nor is there likely to be one soon, Rader noted. He pointed out that researchers also don't know what causes HDL cholesterol to function poorly in removing excess cholesterol, something that will be the subject of future research.

More information

The American Heart Association has more on cholesterol.

SOURCES: Daniel J. Rader, M.D., director, preventive cardiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Robert Eckel, M.D., professor, medicine, University of Colorado, Denver; Jan. 13, 2011, New England Journal of Medicine


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