HDL's Transporter Is Key

High Density Lipoprotein, or HDL, has long been known as the "good cholesterol." Now, though, it appears that the amount of HDL in your lipid profile (the blood test for total cholesterol) isn't as important as the molecules that give your HDL a ride to its destination. Rachel Mackey, PhD, MPH, of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues reported online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that the risk of heart disease seems to be more closely associated with the number molecules, or particles, that help the HDL travel than to the amount of HDL itself.

Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer for MedPage Today summed up the report's complicated scientific jargon this way: "Patients with higher concentrations of HDL particles had less atherosclerosis and fewer coronary heart disease events than those with lower levels of the molecules."

"HDL particles may be an alternative to HDL cholesterol as a marker of HDL-related cardiovascular risk, if these findings are confirmed in other studies and found to be cost-effective," the researchers wrote.

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