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Good Cholesterol Not Good Enough For Your Heart

Good cholesterol, known as HDL, might not be sufficient to protect the heart, according to a paper presented at the American College of Cardiology 2016, Scientific Sessions, in the US.


Good cholesterol might not be all that helpful if glycoprotein acetylation (GlycA), a biomarker for artery inflammation, is already present in the blood in high amounts.

Technically known as high density lipoprotein (HDL), good cholesterol is thought to generate beneficial effects in the body: according to research, it constitutes an anti-inflammatory compound that shields arteries from damage. Otherwise, inflammation in arteries has been associated with increased risk of heart attacks and strokes because of its effects on blood clot formation. It appears that HDL cannot provide this protection in the presence of high levels of GlycA.

This conclusion was reached after researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, UT, measured the levels of GlycA in a group of 2,848 patients, 65% of whom had coronary artery disease. The results show that those having high levels of biomarker GlycA also had a greater risk of heart attack or stroke. The findings also suggest that GlycA might be interacting with small HDL particles such that the latter’s ability to protect from inflammation is inhibited— this would then lead to a greater risk of having heart attacks or strokes.

Also, it seems that GlycA, a marker of inflammation, could be used to forecast these events, says Dr. Brent Muhlestein, co-director of cardiovascular research at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute; he adds that they did not have much knowledge about GlycA before. He, therefore, looks forward to more research to ascertain whether there is indeed a link or not.

Dr Muhlestein concludes by saying that their findings support the relevance of working, through exercise and healthy eating, to lower inflammation in arteries.


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