HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels are correlated to the psychological well-being of a person, according to a recent study published in Lipids in Health and Disease. The study was conducted to verify whether the psychological make-up of a person could be used to predict blood lipid levels.
Inspiration behind the study
Several previous studies have found a link between cholesterol and a person’s mental state. One such study found an inverse relationship between cholesterol and mood. In other words, good moods indicate lower cholesterol levels and vice versa. Another study found a link between mental disorders and high cholesterol levels.
Doctors have identified two types of cholesterol—low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol, often described as bad cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol, also known as good cholesterol.
Existing evidence shows that high LDL cholesterol levels are connected to cardiovascular disease, which is one of the main causes of death worldwide. This risk is high even if the patient receives treatment for high cholesterol levels.
Studies also show that sufficient levels of HDL cholesterol can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
High levels of HDL cholesterol are linked with longevity, whereas low levels are associated with a declining brain function resulting in memory loss and dementia.
Key aspects of the study
The research was called the Midlife in the U.S. (MIDUS) study. It involved 1,054 participants who researchers studied for a period of 10 years. These participants were evaluated on the basis of psychological factors and their health.
Researchers defined their idea of psychological well-being using the theoretical concept of “eudemonic” well-being, which is comprised of several factors. These include personal independence and freedom, personal growth, mastery over the environment, healthy relationships, having a purpose in life, and self-acceptance.
They also conducted lipid profile tests on the participants to verify whether the level of well-being was in any way connected with their cholesterol.
Main findings of the study
An analysis of lipid profiles of participants revealed:
- Participants had consistent levels of well-being over time. While some had a high level of well-being, others had moderate or low levels of well-being.
- Participants who had high levels of self-acceptance and mastery over the environment also had lower triglycerides and higher HDL cholesterol compared to individuals who had consistently poor psychological well-being.
- There was no correlation between LDL cholesterol level and the well-being of participants.
Therefore, scientists concluded that psychological well-being can help to predict HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. A psychologically healthy person would be physically healthier, exhibiting low triglycerides and high HDL cholesterol levels compared to a person with poor psychological health.
Related: Psychological well-being improved, heart attack risk reduced with physical activity in older adults