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High density lipoprotein (HDL) - description and reference ranges

What is it?

High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is also known as "good cholesterol". The high density lipoprotein absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver.

A higher level of HDL cholesterol in relationship to your level of LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) helps reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Reference ranges

If your indicative HDL level is lower than the reference range for our laboratory:

The underlying cause can be a health problem or certain medications that you may be taking.

Your doctor can use this figure, in conjunction with your other cholesterol results and a range of other elements of your medical history, to calculate your risk of heart attacks and strokes and determine whether or not you need treatment for your cholesterol levels.

The causes of low HDL can be: smoking, bad diet, insulin resistance, various genetic conditions

We would suggest speaking to your GP about this result.

If your indicative HDL level is higher than the reference range for our laboratory:

Generally, higher level of HDL cholesterol implies that the HDL cholesterol is capable of doing its job of removing fat from arteries.

However, too high level can be detrimental and there are suggestions that at heigher concentrations of "good cholesterol" HDL starts to behave like LDL (or "bad cholesterol"), clogging up the arteries.

Your doctor can use this figure, in conjunction with your other cholesterol results and a range of other elements of your medical history, to calculate your risk of heart attacks and strokes and determine whether or not you need treatment for your cholesterol levels.

Please discuss this result with your GP.

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