DEAR DOCTOR K: I am 71 years old. My LDL cholesterol is 160, but my HDL is 122. Does my high HDL cancel out concerns about my high LDL cholesterol?
DEAR READER: I can't give you a definite answer for a simple reason: There are very few people like you. Therefore, there are few studies of people like you. Here's what we know. For the vast majority of people, the higher your LDL ("bad") cholesterol, the greater your risk of heart disease. In contrast, the higher your HDL ("good") cholesterol, the lower your risk.