High Levels Of Good Cholesterol Will Decrease the Risk for Heart Disease

Not all cholesterol will harm the health of a person though cholesterol is often thought of as being low density lipoprotein (LDL) which threatens the arteries by creating plaque buildup therein. As LDL cholesterol builds up, it causes a condition referred to as atherosclerosis which causes a narrowing of the passage that pumps blood to the body and it makes the heart work extra hard to keep blood circulation flowing. To add to the ill effects of LDL cholesterol, pieces of the plaque may break off and result in clotting or even heart attacks. Good cholesterol, on the other hand, is the high density lipoprotein (HDL) that keeps an inventory of LDL levels and helps eliminate extra stock. It is beneficial to the health to have high HDL levels and low LDL levels, though the optimum ratio levels are somewhat difficult to ascertain.

Genetics are known to play a part in determining cholesterol levels and women tend to have high HDL levels, though it need not necessarily help protect them from heart disease. It is known for a fact that good cholesterol confers a degree of protection from heart disease, but the focus of "cholesterol wars" has been to reduce LDL rather than raise HDL cholesterol levels. Only recently has it been discovered that low HDL levels are an independent risk factor for heart disease.

HDL Is Beneficial to a Person's Health

Good cholesterol or HDL scours the walls of the blood vessels and cleans up unwanted and extra cholesterol. It is thus necessary for persons affected with elevated cholesterol levels and whose HDL levels are below 40 mg/DL, to take steps to increase their HDL level. To increase HDL levels, a person may take to aerobic exercising, lose weight, stop smoking, cut out the trans fatty acids, take a drink or two of alcohol, increase monounsaturated fats in the diet, and also add soluble fiber to the diet. These measures will help increase HDL levels and improve a person's health.

Drug therapy for increasing good cholesterol levels is not as successful as those that reduce bad cholesterol levels, and statins perform poorly in increasing HDL levels. Nevertheless, HDL levels have attracted increasing amount of attention that has led many companies attempting to develop new drugs targeted at increasing the HDL levels. On the whole, people with high levels of good cholesterol are less at risk for heart disease since HDL actually helps clear away the LDL or bad cholesterol from the blood vessels. Since many areas of the body depend on cholesterol for their proper functioning, having high HDL levels will certainly contribute to a person's better health.