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High HDL Autoimmune Disease: Unraveling the Link

Intro to High HDL Autoimmune Disease

High density lipoprotein (HDL) is an essential component of cardiovascular health, but recent research is beginning to suggest that it plays an important role in immune health as well. In this article, we will explore the correlation between high levels of HDL and autoimmune diseases. We will look at the potential effects that high HDL levels can have on autoimmune conditions, as well as the role of HDL in protecting against coronary artery disease. We’ll even look at how lipid profiles can affect HDL levels, and what this means for those affected by autoimmune diseases.

Effects of HDL on Autoimmune Diseases

Recent studies show that high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is crucial in how autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases, develop and progress. HDL has even been connected to systemic lupus erythematosus, a disease impacting joints, kidneys, and more.

Researchers are still figuring out how HDL influences these diseases. What’s clear is that HDL might play a role in guiding our immune system and in managing cholesterol in our bodies. This includes processes like taking cholesterol from tissues back to the liver and helping cells handle cholesterol more effectively.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a major cause of death in many countries and is highly associated with high levels of cholesterol in the blood. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) plays an important role in protecting against CAD by acting as a “reverse cholesterol transporter”. HDL helps to remove excess cholesterol from the blood vessels, thus reducing the risk of coronary artery disease.

In addition, HDL has a role to play in the “cholesterol efflux capacity” of the body, which helps to regulate how much cholesterol is removed from the cells and circulated in the bloodstream. Studies have shown that higher levels of HDL can reduce the risk of CAD.

How HDL May Affect the Immune System

HDL plays an important role in our body’s immune system. It may help to regulate the immune system by modulating the activation of certain cells in the immune system. Research has found that small HDL particles may be involved in the activation of macrophages and T lymphocytes, which can ultimately affect the progression of autoimmune diseases. This suggests that HDL may be able to control the rate of activation of certain cells in the immune system. In addition, HDL may also be beneficial in transporting proteins, like CETP, which have an effect on immune system function. CETP, which stands for Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein, is a plasma protein that is responsible for the transfer of cholesterol and fatty acids between lipoprotein particles.

Lipid Profiles and HDL Levels

HDL levels are highly dependent on lipid profiles. Lipid profiles are collections of fats in the body that include cholesterol, triglycerides, and lipoproteins. High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides have been linked to an increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases, and high levels of HDL have been associated with decreased risk.

The good news is, HDL levels can be manipulated with lifestyle changes! Eating a low-fat, high-fiber diet, staying active, and quitting smoking can help to increase HDL levels. For those looking for wholesome, nutritious recipes that align with these guidelines, Curry Girls Kitchen focuses on healthy whole food recipes that can be beneficial! Additionally, medications such as niacin or fibrates can play a role in elevating HDL. On the flip side, factors that can decrease HDL levels include being overweight, leading a sedentary lifestyle, and consuming excessive saturated fat or trans fats.


After looking into the correlation between high levels of HDL and autoimmune diseases, it’s clear that more research is needed in order to understand the exact role that HDL plays in the development of these autoimmune diseases. However, one thing that appears to be certain is that maintaining healthy lipid profiles and HDL levels may help to protect against the progression of autoimmune diseases.

For individuals affected by an autoimmune disease, this means that it’s important to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and exercise regularly in order to keep HDL levels in check. Eating a gluten-free diet and avoiding processed foods and unhealthy fats may also help to keep HDL levels in the optimal range. Ultimately, healthy lifestyle habits and a balanced diet may be beneficial for those affected by an autoimmune disease.

At Curry Girls Kitchen, we are here to provide guidance and support as you make healthy lifestyle choices. Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about healthy living from us!


1. What diseases are associated with high HDL?

High HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol is often considered the “good” cholesterol because it helps remove other types of cholesterol from your bloodstream. Higher levels of HDL can be associated with a lower risk of heart disease. However, very high levels of HDL might not offer more protection and, in some cases, might even be harmful. Some studies suggest it might be linked to a higher risk of developing health issues, such as atherosclerosis, but the connections are not well-understood and more research is needed.

2. Can lupus cause high HDL?

Lupus, an autoimmune disease, has been known to affect lipid profiles. In most cases, lupus is associated with an increase in triglycerides and LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol, and a decrease in HDL cholesterol. However, individual cases may vary and it’s crucial to consult with a medical professional for specific details.

3. What causes excessively high HDL?

Excessively high HDL levels can be influenced by a combination of genetic factors and lifestyle habits. Some individuals inherit genes that cause higher HDL levels. Additionally, regular exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, and certain medications can elevate HDL levels. In some cases, very high HDL can result from underlying health conditions, such as liver disease or chronic alcoholism.

4. Does high HDL cause inflammation?

HDL cholesterol is generally considered protective against inflammation. It can help reduce the risk of arterial inflammation and is known to have anti-inflammatory effects. However, the relationship between HDL and inflammation is complex. While higher HDL levels are mostly beneficial, in some circumstances, HDL can become dysfunctional and pro-inflammatory. It’s always best to consult a medical expert regarding personal health concerns.

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