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Diet and Nutrition

High hdl

07/05/2000

Question:

My mother had an hdl cholesterol of 134. The doctor said it was the highest he had ever seen. My hdl is sort of high, about 91. Is it possible to inherit a good gene for cholesterol? Thanks .

Answer:

Thanks for your question. You and your mother are indeed lucky to have high HDL levels. HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein cholesterol, the type that helps your body get rid of excess cholesterol, preventing it from clogging arteries.

A high HDL level may be hereditary, but is typically due to diet and exercise. Aerobic exercise (walking, biking, running) raises HDL, as does small amounts of red wine, and monounsaturated fats (olive, peanut and canola). Your HDL should be above 34 to be cardioprotective. People with low HDL levels (i.e. below 30) tend to have higher risk of heart disease. Although your HDL is high, your total cholesterol may also be elevated as HDL is a part of the total number. If you have a history of heart disease, a low fat/low cholesterol diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains certainly couldn`t hurt. In addition, regular exercise may be beneficial to maintain your high HDL level. Take Care!

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Response by:

Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Adjunct Faculty
University of Cincinnati