1. What treatments are recommended for low HDL-C levels?
Low HDL-C is not usually a target for treatment with medication. While some drugs used to lower LDL-C can also raise HDL-C, these drugs are not typically prescribed based on HDL-C levels. Certain lifestyle changes, however, may be recommended to help increase your HDL-C level. Since smoking can decrease HDL-C levels, quitting smoking (if you are a smoker) is a good way to increase HDL-C. Exercise is another good way to increase HDL-C. Alcohol consumption in moderation (1 to 2 drinks per day) has been reported to increase HDL-C, but there is some controversy about whether this is beneficial. Most physicians do not recommend increasing alcohol intake to increase HDL-C cholesterol.
High HDL-C has generally been found to be protective, decreasing the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) in most people. However, some recent studies have shown that in some people with high HDL-C, the HDL-C is not protective and may, in fact, result in higher risk for CAD than in people with normal HDL-C levels. In one study, it was shown that people with CAD and high HDL-C had underlying genetic anomalies in enzymes important in lipid turnover (cholesterol ester transfer protein and hepatic triglyceride lipase). Another study showed that high levels of abnormally large HDL-C particles were associated with increased risk of CAD. Further research is needed to determine what conditions contribute to unexpectedly high risk of CAD in the presence of high HDL-C.
This article was last reviewed on August 26, 2013. | This article was last modified on December 29, 2014.
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