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Heart Health

HDL cholesterol: Is higher really better?

March 01, 2012

Raising HDL with niacin takes a back seat to lowering LDL with statins.

Doctors often encourage people with heart disease or at risk for it to attain high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels above 40 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Levels lower than that, the thinking goes, diminish this "good" cholesterol's power to protect the heart and arteries. But the importance of raising HDL may be declining, especially for people with rock-bottom levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.

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