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How can I increase my low HDL levels?

Q: I am 28 years old and recently got my lipid profile done. The results are – cholesterol - 136 mg/dL; triglycerides - 142 mg/dL; HDL - 23 mg/dL; LDL - 79 mg/dL and VLDL - 34 mg/dL. Blood sugar (F) - 84 mg/dL and PP - 108 mg/dL. Uric acid was 6.1 mg/dL. The HDL seems to be quite low. Am I at a high risk for developing heart disease? How can I increase my HDL? Moreover, I am obese and my height is 5 feet 9 inches and I weigh 95 kg.

A:You may repeat your lipid profile and ask for Direct HDL (most labs nowadays use direct HDL although very few use direct LDL). If it comes low again, you have Obesity with low HDL, which predisposes to heart attacks especially if your BP is borderline high or high as it is part of the Metabolic Syndrome. Ways to raise HDL are - 1. Weight loss 2. Flat tummy (loss of abdominal obesity) 3. Daily exercise to maintain at least 80% of your target heart rate (220 minus age) 4. Bhastrika 5. Decrease processed foods and carbohydrates that are easily digested (like white rice, white bread, ready noodles, pastries, fried stuff, sugar) & increased whole grain cereals and fruits and vegetables 6. Mild alcohol intake, though I will not prescribe it off hand as it might increase weight, triglycerides and BP. 7. Drugs - may be considered if you have a strong family history or if your Lipoprotein (a)- a type of genetic marker for cholesterol, is high. The most important thing for you would be diet and life style changes to reduce weight.

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