High HDL Levels: Here’s Everything You Need To Know

high hdl

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is good for your health. This is because it cleanses your blood from more harmful forms of cholesterols. Thus, the natural belief is that higher HDL levels are better for the body, which is true in a way, especially those people with a low level of HDL. But to say that a high HDL level always contributes to ‘good’ health is untrue. Let us first understand the recommended HDL range before we go ahead to know the impact of high HDL level on the human body.

  • Doctors recommend that the ideal HDL level should be 60 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) of blood or higher.
  • When high-density lipoprotein is said to be normal when between 40 to 50 mg/dL.
  • HDL lower than 40 mg/dL can pose an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

High HDL Level

1. Is High Cholesterol Good?

There are two main types of cholesterol in the blood, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). However, it is the LDL that is commonly responsible for risk to heart health. LDL can cause fatty built up in the arteries, causing those to clog. As the arteries clog and get narrow, a stroke or heart attack is more likely to take place. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, removes LDL cholesterol and prevents the instance of artery-clogging.

  • Thus, for better heart health, the LDL cholesterol should be low, while the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol must be optimum.
  • A high level of HDL is desirable as it leads to the removal of LDL cholesterol from the blood, which then gets transferred to the liver.
  • It is in the liver that the LDL cholesterol gets processed and eliminated.

2. How High The HDL Level Should Be?

As a generalized perception, you may want the HDL level to be as high as possible because it contributes positively to cardiovascular health. But how high the high-density lipoprotein level must be? The answer depends on several factors. There is no specified upper limit establishes to say that the HDL cholesterol is now unhealthy. Usually, HDL cholesterol does not peak negatively in people with normal metabolism and cholesterol. However, in a few cases, it can be otherwise.

Certain rare genetic variants may cause abnormally high HDL levels. The variant in question is present in the SR-BI molecule. It is the mutation of SR-BI that may cause an increase in heart disease risk given unusual surge (level greater than 95 milligrams per decilitre sometimes), in high-density lipoprotein.

3. Impact of High C-reactive Protein & HDL In Blood

It has been found in reliable researches that those with high levels of C-reactive proteins, who also have had a heart attack, are prone to process high HDL, but negatively. The liver produces C-reactive proteins when the inflammation level in the body increases. Let us know what happens if a person has a high level of C-reactive protein as well as HDL in the body.

  • People the high HDL levels instead of protecting heart health can in turn increase the risk to cardiovascular diseases.
  • Those with high levels of C-reactive proteins and HDL may fall in a high-risk group for cardiovascular problems.
  • People with this type of inflammation, with HDL level is in the normal range, process HDL differently, which becomes harmful in nature.

NOTE: There are a few other conditions, such as inflammatory disease, thyroid disorders, alcohol consumption, etc, linked to high HDL.

Also Read: Harmful Effects Of High Cholesterol

How To Test HDL Levels?

To determine the HDL level in your body, you need to get a blood test done. The doctor will look for the level of LDL and triglyceride along with HDL in your overall lipid profile. By understanding the levels of other cholesterol and HDL in the blood, the doctor will be able to determine if the high-density lipoprotein level is adequate or not. And if it is negatively high, the health practitioner will suggest a treatment plan.

There are certain factors, which can influence the test results, so before getting the tests done, you need to tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant
  • You did not fast before the test
  • Recently ill
  • You have had a heart attack recently
  • Lately more stressed than usual
  • You gave birth in the last 6 weeks

If you confirm to any of the factors stated above, then the blood test may reveal inaccurate measurements. Thus, you may have to wait for a few weeks before getting the cholesterol test on you so that the results revealed are accurate.

What Is The Desirable Range For Cholesterol Levels?

The apt cholesterol range may differ from a person to another, as several other elements such as existing health problems, family history of cardiovascular disease, lifestyle, and triglyceride level are responsible to note the desirable cholesterol range. The below-given pointers indicate the expected cholesterol range, but the ideal one has to be discussed and determined with a doctor alone.

  • Total Cholesterol Level: The desirable range is less than 200 mg/dL. The borderline high range is considered as 200 to 239 mg/dL, while 240 mg/dL and above is considered of a high range.
  • LDL Cholesterol Level: The optimal range is less than 100 mg/dL, while 100 to 129 mg/dL is considered to as near or above optimal. 130 to 159 mg/dL is of borderline high range, 160 to 189 mg/dL is of high range, and 190 mg/dL and above is of a very high range.
  • HDL Cholesterol Level: If the range is less than 40 mg/dL, then it poses a heart disease risk. If the range is between 40 to 59 mg/dL, then it is said to be of a higher and a better range, while the range greater than 60 mg/dL essentials protects you against heart diseases.

Medications That Might Affect High HDL Levels

Increasing HDL level is usually a positive side effect for those with a low level of high-density lipoprotein. After all, the optimal level of HDL decreases the risk of heart issues. However, if the HDL level is negatively high, then you have to speak with your doctor for the right medication plan. There are a few cholesterol-controlling medicines associated with raising levels of HDL. These medicines are taken to lower triglyceride, LDL, and total cholesterol levels.

Below we have listed types of medications linked to a risk of increase level of High-density lipoprotein:

  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors
  • Statins (help in blocking the liver from forming more cholesterol)
  • Omega-3 fatty acid supplements (help in lowering triglycerides in the blood, but may increase HDL cholesterol)
  • Bile acid sequestrants (helps in decreasing the fat absorption after food intake)

How To Decrease Level Of Cholesterol?

The high-density lipoprotein is usually not negatively high in most people. Thus, treatment may not be necessary. However, any lifestyle change or action plan will depend on your overall medical history and how high the levels of cholesterols are in the blood. Your doctor will help you understand if you have to work towards lowering the HDL levels or not. In general, the overall cholesterol may decrease if you:

  • Reduce intake of saturated fats in food
  • Not smoke
  • Do not drink alcohol at all, or even if you, then do it in moderate amounts
  • Engage in moderate exercise regularly
  • Keep weight in control
  • Manage health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, thyroid disease, liver problems, etc.

Wrapping Up

It is recommended that anyone over the age of 20 years must get a cholesterol test on them done every two to three years. And if your family has a history of cardiovascular problems, then it is mandatory to get the tests done regularly. Monitoring your health and total cholesterol level in a timely manner can save you from impending diseases and disorders.