American scientists have found that the so-called “good” HDL cholesterol may actually increase the risk of heart attack in some people.
HDL cholesterol is traditionally associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease because it helps to offset the negative effect of the harmful LDL cholesterol.
But some people have a rare genetic mutation that causes their bodies to have higher HDL levels than normal, and paradoxically it is this group who are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, according to researchers.
– Our results indicate that some causes of high HDL level actually increase the risk of heart disease. This is the first discovery of a genetic mutation that raises HDL levels, but also increase the risk of heart disease, said lead researcher Daniel Rader of the University of Pennsylvania.
Researchers hope the findings may help explain why medications that are designed to increase the production of HDL cholesterol, so far has not been a success.
– These unexpected findings pave the way for further research on the types of treatment that may reduce the number of heart attacks in the future, says Peter Weissberg, medical director of the Foundation British Heart Foundation.
The researchers also found out that this mutation, which they believe is a flawed version of the gene SCARB1, particularly affects Ashkenazi Jews.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today