Ask The Doctors: October 2009 Womens Edition

If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, it doesnt matter too much what your HDL is. Your first goal is to lower your LDL to the guideline recommendation and then lower your non-HDL, which is your total cholesterol minus HDL. Lastly, you should think about raising your HDL, if it is low. If you have not been diagnosed with heart disease, the jury is still out. If your LDL is high (over 200 mg/dL), you should lower it-even if your HDL is high (over 80 mg/dL). Thats because some HDL may not be functional. Prednisone and hormone replacement therapy, for example, raise HDL, but this HDL may not protect the heart. Theres no way to know how much of your HDL is really beneficial, but its a sure thing that most LDL is undesirable.
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