We have been told for years that if we increase HDL cholesterol, the risk of heart attack goes down, right? However, research has not been able to prove this conclusively. With so many cholesterol medications available, none of them actually truly help to increase HDL although the drugs help lower LDL and total cholesterol. Could that be the link? Scientists are not certain.
A group of researchers affiliated with the National Institute of Health decided to investigate genetic variations affiliated with HDL cholesterol and try to develop drugs to improve the genetic ability to increase HDL. Unfortunately, their findings with the drugs were not successful in determining whether increasing HDL helps lower heart disease risk.
What does all of this mean? Well, could it be that while exercise helps increase HDL, it is not so much the higher HDL decreasing the risk of heart attack, but the fact that the exercise has strengthened the heart and lowered blood pressure? That healthier eating has lowered LDL and therefore total cholesterol? Could it mean that the American College of Sports Medicine’s motto is true, that exercise really is medicine? That pills and medications are not always the best course of action, but exercise may be?