Doctors change their ways to drop cholesterol

Changes in certain lifestyle factors can create long-term change in HDL cholesterol levels, at least in a population of male doctors in the US.

A 14-year cohort study of 4168 male doctors tracked the impact of changes in BMI, alcohol intake and exercise.

On average, participants who maintained a BMI of < 25, or reduced their BMI from > 25 to within the healthy range below 25, increased their HDL by between 0.08 and 0.12 mmol/L over the 14 years.

Interestingly, moderate alcohol consumption also produced benefits. Men who drank at least one alcoholic beverage a day, or who increased their alcohol intake to that amount (from less than one drink a day at baseline), raised their HDL levels by 0.06 to 0.09 mmol/L over the study period.

Study participants who became sedentary significantly reduced their HDL levels.

American Heart Journal 2011; 161(4):712-18