Infectious disease risk linked to 'good cholesterol'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

Researchers have established a link between infectious diseases and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

This form of cholesterol is also known as "good cholesterol" due to its perceived health benefits, but new research from the University of Copenhagen has indicated that it may affect the immune system in a way that promotes diseases such as gastroenteritis or pneumonia.

“A new study has shown that a form of cholesterol widely seen as being healthy can lead to a higher risk of infectious disease.“

Data was collated from 100,000 individuals taking part in the Copenhagen General Population Study, revealing that individuals with both low and high levels of HDL cholesterol experienced high risks of hospitalisation or death due to infectious diseases.

The 21 percent of the population with the lowest concentrations of HDL cholesterol and the eight percent with the highest concentrations were both shown to be at high risk of infectious diseases.

Borge Nordestgaard, professor and chief physician at the University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen University Hospital, said: "Our findings indicate that, in the future, research into the role and function of HDL should not narrowly focus on cardiovascular disease, but rather focus on the role of HDL in other disease areas, such as infectious disease."

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