Recent Blog Articles

Ask the doctor: Which is more important, high bad cholesterol or high good cholesterol?

April 01, 2006

Ask the doctor

Which is more important, high bad cholesterol or high good cholesterol?

Q. My doctor and I are confused by my cholesterol levels. My good cholesterol is extraordinarily high, at 94, but my bad cholesterol is on the high side, too, at 154. To resolve this good news/bad news story, my doctor ordered a C-reactive protein test which, of course, came back right in the middle of the normal range. I don't smoke or have other risk factors for heart disease. Would you advise me to start a statin or some other drug?

A. Let me start by asking your question another way: How do LDL and HDL intersect for gauging one's risk of heart disease and for guiding therapy? The answer, in a nutshell, is that a high HDL does not "cancel out" a high LDL.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».

Disclaimer:

As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.