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Higher HDL Cholesterol Lowers Risk of CVD for Diabetics

People with diabetes have an 87% greater risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease in their lifetimes. Research from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, USA, suggests that this risk could be reduced if diabetics increase their HDL or "good" cholesterol.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Cardiology on October 15, 2011.

The study included 30,000 individuals who entered the Kaiser Permanente diabetes registries between 2001 and 2006. HDL cholesterol levels were measured twice, between 6 and 24 months apart.

The majority of the patients (61%) had no change in HDL. However, 22% had increases in HDL levels of at least 6.5 mg/dl and 17% had decreases in HDL levels of approximately the same amount.

The researchers followed the patients for 8 years after taking the cholesterol measurements. They found that increased HDL levels were associated with 8% fewer heart attacks and strokes when compared to HDL levels that stayed the same. Additionally, decreased HDL levels were associated with 11% more heart attacks and strokes when compared to steady HDL levels.

These findings suggest that raising HDL cholesterol may be as important as lowering LDL (or “bad) cholesterol in people with diabetes.

If you want to boost your HDL levels through diet, look to oats, omega-3's, walnuts and almonds Additionally, lifestyle changes such as adding aerobic exercise, quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol all help raise good cholesterol.

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