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The Role of 'Good Cholesterol' in Heart Disease Risk


Narrator: This is Science Today. Keeping LDL, or "bad cholesterol" levels in check has long been recommended to reduce cardiovascular disease, but there's now increasing interest in boosting "good cholesterol" levels, too.

Bersot: The reason why it's called good is because the more of it you have, the lower your risk.

Narrator: Dr. Thomas Bersot, a cholesterol researcher at the University of California, San Francisco's Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, says "good cholesterol", or high-density lipoprotein, known for short as HDL, picks up cholesterol in artery walls, removes it and lessens the process of hardening of the arteries.

Bersot: I think the most important use that physicians and the lay pubic alike should make of HDL cholesterol levels is to be aware of the fact that a low HDL level is a significant risk factor for developing heart disease, even if your LDL level is in the normal range.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.