Maintaining optimal HDL levels can help protect you against
What is HDL(Cholesterol)?
High-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol, is one among two types
of cholesterol found in your blood. The second type is low-density lipoprotein (LDL),
sometimes called “bad” one. Optimal levels of HDL may lower your risk of heart
attack and stroke. HDL cholesterol helps your body remove LDL by carrying it from the
bloodstream and artery walls to your liver, where LDL is broken down and excreted from the
HDL Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per decilitre (dl) of blood.
The following are considered healthy and unhealthy blood levels of HDL cholesterol,
according to the Mayo Clinic:
Poor: below 40 mg/dl (men) and below 50 mg/dl (women)
Better: 50 to 59 mg/dl
Ideal: 60 mg/dl and above
How to Raise Your HDL Levels
If your HDL cholesterol level is too low, your doctor may recommend the following
strategies for raising it:
People who are overweight or have metabolic syndrome — a group of
problems that includes obesity, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, and elevated
blood sugar — tend to have lower HDL levels. Even modest weight loss can help raise it.
Become more active.
Exercise has two specific effects on cholesterol: It raises levels of
HDL and increases the size of LDL particles, which makes them less likely to form plaque on
coronary artery walls.
In addition to lowering your HDL level, smoking causes damage to the walls
of your blood vessels, making it easier for plaque to accumulate.
Control your blood sugar.
If you have diabetes and your HDL level is too low,
especially important to keep your blood sugar under control. High blood sugar can weaken
the lining of your arteries; raise LDL levels, and lower HDL levels.
Alcohol and Cholesterol Moderate drinking may raise your HDL cholesterol levels,
according to the Mayo Clinic. Moderate drinking means one drink per day for women of all
ages and men over age 65. Men under age 65 can have up to two drinks a day.
Source: Mayo clinic , American Heart Association