Low Levels of “Good Cholesterol” Raise Cardiac Risk

Friday, June 24, 2011

Low levels of HDL-C, the so-called “good cholesterol,” raise the risk of a thickening of the arteries in obese teens with type 2 diabetes.

A new Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center study has found that low HDL-C is a risk factor for a thickening of the carotid artery in these adolescents. Other lipids including LDL -C, the so called “bad cholesterol,” do not appear to contribute significantly to early cardiovascular outcomes in teens with diabetes – at least as measured by thickness in the carotid artery walls.

“Together with HDL, other traditional cardiovascular risk factors, including age, race, sex, glucose, obesity and HbA1c, which is a test that measures the average blood sugar over a 3 month period in the blood, explain only 13 to 19 percent of carotid thickening,” says Amy Shah, MD, a pediatric endocrinologist at Cincinnati Children’s and lead author of the study.

Dr. Shah will present her study at 5:45 p.m. Pacific time Saturday, June 25, at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego.

“We know that both teens and adults with type 2 diabetes have increased carotid thickness compared to those without diabetes,” says Dr. Shah. “In adults, lower HDL-C and high total cholesterol are associated with a higher carotid thickness. “There is still a lot we don’t know. We need to continue research to determine what, beyond these risk factors, influences the development of increased carotid thickness in teens with type 2 diabetes.”

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

About Cincinnati Children's

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News and World Report's 2011 Best Children's Hospitals ranking. It is ranked #1 for gastroenterology and in the top 10 for all pediatric specialties - a distinction shared by only two other pediatric hospitals in the United States. Cincinnati Children's is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health. It is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at

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