What causes Low HDL?

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New Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 8/20/2007 8:29 AM (GMT -6)   
I had a quintuple by-pass 6 months ago,  I am 33 years old have always have normal blood pressure 122/75 and never smoked, my Cholesterol had never been tests till I started getting chest pains during my workouts ; My HDL was only 14 and my LDL was 96, the cardic Surgeon said I have a lipd disorder. Is this caused by me being 50lbs over weight and too much meat in my diet ?

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 8/20/2007 4:08 PM (GMT -6)   
I will try to give you as much imformation as I can but my conditon seems to be rare, I am currently on 10 mg Liptor, 10 Zetia, Zocor and 2000mg of NIASPAN , I also take 2000 mg Omcor and Covitti, I have always walk either outside or on a trendmill 5 days a week 2 miles. I have always eaten a high fat diet and been over weight. I will look into Ornish diet. I am going to switch doctor he should be give me this imfomation.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 8/21/2007 1:46 PM (GMT -6)   


I think you are being a little harsh.  With the exception of a 5-10 minute discussion with one cardiologist who treated me at the time of my heart attack, I have not had any discussions with cardiologist or primary care physician about diet. I doubt if it you are going to get alot of info in the typical 15 minute office visit.  Indeed, when my PCP was concerned about my blood sugar, she recommend that I see a dietician.  Also, judging by the food I have seen in the Dr's dining room, I am not sure if they know too much about the correct diet.

Faldllou, one thing that helped me in understanding diet was cardiac rehab. I had two 1 hour classes in diet plus a free one hour consultation with a dietician about my diet. The information was very helpful.  Rehab can also help in alot of different ways.  You may want to ask your surgeon about joining rehab.

The drugs you take will definitely help, but changing your diet will also pay dividends as well.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 8/21/2007 6:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Chemist, beacuse of my age and my poor insurance I only spend 2 week in cardiac rehab and did not get any diet advise just a heart monitored workout, My cardiologist did tell me on my first appoinment after surgery to go on any of the low carb / low fat diet. I have not put enough effort in to cal restiction and have not lost any weight since surgery, I just do not have the right mind set to get moving on a diet and the fear of death doesn't seem to get me moving, i just make me feel hopeless. My lipd panel is a little better than before surgey hdl 14 ldl 96
after 3 months on meds hdl was 24 and LDL was 86 better but no where near good. Is there any diet change proven to incease HDL?

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 194
   Posted 8/21/2007 6:55 PM (GMT -6)   
Unfortunately, there was just an article here,
saying how hard it is to raise HDL.

I have done the diet and the exercise and still struggle to get it over 30.
I have heard "niacin" has had the best effect from drugs. My cousin tried it and she had terrible side effects. Low HDL seems to run in our family.

Eating a lot of fruit and vegetables helps a little.
Some people say fish oil tablets help.

But it sounds like this is a genetic issue. Good luck with trying to get it up. Maybe soon they will come up with some drugs that can really help.

In the meantime, it sounds like you really should add a lot of fruit and vegetables to your diet.
diagnosed with UC in 1962
regualr meds:
Asulfadine (500mg tablets, 6 daily)
Folic Acid
Zantac as needed
open heart surgery in 2005 for removal of aortic root aneurysm

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 8/21/2007 7:33 PM (GMT -6)   

My insurance didn't cover rehab either. They claim my heart attack wasn't severe enough. LOL. The rehab people charge me $5 a visit.

The rehab classes had handouts. You may want to ask the rehab people if you could get a copy of the handout to read over. You may be able to work out a deal with the rehab dietician.

If you have feelings of hopelessness, you may be depress. Depresssion after a heart attack or heart surgery is common. I have read that about 50% of heart patients have it in the first year. I was depressed after my heart attack. My life was pretty miserable. Fortunately, my primary care physician put me on Zoloft and that helped quite a bit.

Do you have a primary care physician like an internist, GP, etc? They may be more attuned to these problems.

The Ornish diet is a good diet but some people find it difficult because it is very low in sat fat (10%) so some people find it difficult to stay with it.

The key is to find diet and stick to it.

A Mediterranean diet is also a good choice. It is higher in sat fat and people find it more palatable.

I don't know of too many foods that raise HDL. Cranberry juice has been reported to raise HDL. Pomegrante juice has been reported to raise HDL. However, you may want to talk to your doctor about it since it may have an effect on your drugs.

Avoid trans fat. Trans fat can lower your HDL and increase your LDL. it's found in lot of junk food, donuts, pastries, etc.

The food label is your friend. You must learn hoe\w to read them as they have a wealth of information.

Here are some other food tips:

Watch your salt intake; keep it below 2200 mg

Avoid fried foods.

Try adding 1 oz of almonds and 1-2 TBSPs of extra virgin olive oil daily to your diet. Almonds and olive oils are high in monounsaturated fat which helps your cholesterol. Olive Oil can also help to keep your arteries and veins supple and flexible.

Eat more fish like salmon or trout. Have 2 or more meals of fish a week. You might try taking fish oil pills every day (1 gram twice a day).

Minimize your sat fat intake. Eat more chicken and turkey, less beef. Take the skin off the chicken or turkey. Watch your portions. 3.5 oz (size of a deck of cards) is the rule

Eat more food like beans, oat,oatmeal, pears, apples etc., that are higher in soluble fiber. There are 2 kinds of fibers. Soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is roughage. Soluble fiber serves as roughage and can help reduce your LDL cholesterol. The soluble fiber literally traps the LDL in your intestines and you excrete it. Try for 7-13 gram of soluble fiber a day. The more the better. (You may have to build your way slowly on this and some people may feel bloated.)

Give yourself 1-2 months on new diet before testing. It takes a awhile to see results and to get acclimated to it.

Exercise is a definite plus. It also helps to relieve stress. Exercise can raise some people's HDL.

Loosing weight is a pain in the ass, but I think it will help. One thing that help me was to keep a food diary of what I ate and portions.

Selmer is right in one sense; it is your responsibility to take charge and follow the program. Having great doctors won't help you if you are not willing to follow their advice.

You may want to see if there any support groups in your area. Mended Hearts is a pretty good one. The American Heart Association has lot of information that they can send you and it is also on their web site.

Faldlou, you are young and have lot to look forward in life. Your problems may seem overwhelming at this point. Just remember that other people have been down this road before and that you are not alone. You can do it. You can take charge. The best advice my PCP gave me was to take it one day at a time.

You can have a good life.

Good luck!

Post Edited (Chemist54) : 8/21/2007 6:41:40 PM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 8/21/2007 9:14 PM (GMT -6)   
chemist, I did not realize depresstion was so common after heart surgery, I knew something was wrong with my attuide after surgery, because I was indifferent to everything I use to enjoy; I am going to see my PCP about meds to help me get out of the mindset and become postive and start makeing some postive step foward in my health. Thanks for direction and the encourgement.

Jic2007, i am currently take 4 x 500 mg Omcor (fish oil a day) and 4 x 500mg nispan a day the flush is rough it feel like a 3 hour long sunburn but if I time my daily asprin just right sometime I have no side effects; for what i remember it may take some time for these drugs to raise up my HDL; but my pass 2 lipd panel are around the same numbers.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 8/22/2007 11:43 AM (GMT -6)   


I take Niaspan to raise my HDL. It took 5 months before it started increasing. If your HDL went from 14 to 24 in 3 months, that's a pretty good jump. Every bit helps. Give it some time. If I remember correctly, the flushing should decrease with time the longer you stay on the Niapsan.  Also, you may find it beneficial to write the the time you take asprin and the time you take the Nisapn to find the sweet spot where there are no problems. Sometimes a low fat snack can help  prevent the flushing.

Here's a link for Med diet


Crestor is a statin that drops the LDL and raise the HDL.  You want to ask your Drs about if it would be suitable for you.

Finally, you have been though a lot in the past months.  Your world has been turned upside down. This happened to me when I had my heart attack.  My old ways of doing things wasn't right. I had to make changes in many things. I had to learn how to cook for one thing. I talk to my PCP about how I felt that I had lost what little control I had over my life. I think I said I felt like a piece of flotsam floating in the sea. She told me that it was only natural to feel that way since my old ways were gone and my new ways hadn't yet formed. They weren't new habits yet. 

I found that I really had to be open to suggestions and advice. In my old life, advice or suggestions about diet would sort of rub me the wrong way, being somewhat of a contrarian in nature.  But, with the heart attack, I resolve to at least try everything that was suggested by the Drs, nures, dietiicians, etc. I wouldn't imediately turn up my nose.  I did have my doubts at the start.  I found that making the changes was easier than I thought. I haven't had a pizzza, donut, or cheeseburger in the 19 months since my heart attack. I don't missed them at all.

The other thing that helps is to have a sense of humor. :)


Post Edited (Chemist54) : 8/22/2007 3:12:13 PM (GMT-6)

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