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Fine measurements of HDL needed to assess heart risk

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Cholesterol tests that measure the quantity of HDL particles, rather than the amount of cholesterol carried by these particles, may deliver a more relevant measure of individuals' cardiovascular risk, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The findings underscore the importance of receiving complete lipid profiles, rather than simple cholesterol tests. This may give patients a better view of whether they are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Most tests for HDL levels look at the amount of cholesterol carried by HDL particles. These particles pick up harmful cholesterol molecules from the arteries and carry them to the liver for processing. Tests quantify this total package.

However, after tracking the health of more than 5,500 middle-aged individuals, the researchers found that this measurement does not predict future cardiovascular complications as well as tracking the quantity of individual HDL particles.

The researchers said this shows that recent studies showing no benefit to raising HDL cholesterol levels may not indicate that HDL has no relevance in heart health. Doctors may simply have been looking at the wrong aspect of HDL.ADNFCR-2248-ID-800816248-ADNFCR

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