If you're diabetic, it's especially important for you to maintain high HDL cholesterol levels.Having low levels of the "good" or protective HDL cholesterol has long been established as a risk factor for atherosclerosis and heart disease.
And now new research out of Australia shows a direct link between low HDL levels and an increased risk of diabetic nephropathy, or complications from diabetes resulting in kidney disease.
Diabetic nephropathy is the #1 cause of chronic kidney disease in the United States as well as other Western cultures.
The comprehensive study, done on behalf of the ADVANCE Collaborative Group, looked at a total of 11,140 Type 2 diabetes patients who had at least one other vascular risk factor. The median time each patient was observed was 5 years.
Compared against those in the highest-third, patients in the lowest third of HDL cholesterol levels had a 19% higher risk for developing a renal event.
The authors of the study concluded that…
"…low HDL-C level was shown to be an independent risk factor for the development and progression of diabetic nephropathy."
These findings are in alignment with a 2009 Italian study that observed over 1,900 Type 2 diabetics over a 5 year period. That study showed that higher levels of HDL cholesterol were shown to reduce the risk of incident for chronic kidney disease in Type 2 diabetics, independent of numerous other factors.
You want your HDL to be…
Ideally, you want an HDL/Cholesterol ratio of at least .25.
So for example, if your Total Cholesterol is 200, you'd want your HDL to be a minimum of 5o mg/dL. The higher that ratio, the more protection you have against artery plaque build-up and the less likely you are to have a cholesterol problem. This is true regardless of your Total Cholesterol number.
Some simple tips to help increase your HDL levels include…
- More exercise.
- Reduce high glycemic foods.
- Eliminate trans fats.
- And if you smoke, stop!
HDL cholesterol has been shown to have many protective benefits for our health. It's not just diabetics that have good reason to raise and then maintain healthy levels of HDL cholesterol.
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