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Reasons for High HDL & Low LDL Cholesterol Profile

by Alexandra Haller
  • Overview

    Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is known as "bad" cholesterol because it is what accumulates on your artery walls. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as "good" cholesterol because it tends to flush excess LDL cholesterol from the body. Knowing what factors influence your HDL and LDL levels can help you make healthier life choices.
  • Genetics

    Because of the hormone estrogen, women tend to have higher HDL levels than men. LDL (bad) cholesterol is made naturally in the liver, and some people's intestines do not have the ability to absorb the excess cholesterol; therefore, some people need medication to keep their LDL levels down.
 
  • Diet

    People who eat more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in place of trans and saturated fats tend to have lower LDL levels, per the American Heart Association. Combining healthy fats with a diet rich in soluble fiber (found in oatmeal, beans and citrus fruits) contributes to decreased LDL levels.
  • Vices

    Nonsmokers have at least 10 percent higher HDL levels than those of smokers, according to staff at the Mayo Clinic. Men who drink no more than two alcoholic drinks per day (and one for women) have higher HDL levels than their heavy-drinking counterparts.
  • Exercise

    People who exercise regularly challenge their heart muscle, and they tend to maintain a normal weight. Both of these factors are important in raising HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Medicines

    Many medicines simultaneously lower your LDL and raise your HDL levels. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center claim that niacin, also known as "vitamin B3," is an inexpensive way to dramatically improve your HDL levels.

    References & Resources