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Why is it risky to have low levels of HDL cholesterol?

A low level of HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol limits the body's ability to protect blood vessels from the damage of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and increases the risk of stroke and heart attacks. HDL  cholesterol helps the body metabolize and get rid of LDL cholesterol and other harmful forms of lipids.
Too little high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or "good" cholesterol) in your bloodstream can also increase your heart risk. That's because HDL cholesterol removes some of the bad low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from the artery walls -- preventing or slowing the buildup of dangerous plaque. You want high levels of this "good" HDL to help keep your arteries clear -- and your heart protected.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.