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BACKGROUND: Previous studies have suggested that there is a novel dyslipidemic profile consisting of isolated low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) level that is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease, and that this trait may be especially prevalent in Asian populations. METHODS AND RESULTS: Individual participant data from 220 060 participants (87% Asian) in 37 studies from the Asia-Pacific region were included. Low HDL-C (HDL <1.03 mmol/L in men and <1.30 mmol/L in women) was seen among 33.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 32.9-33.3) of Asians versus 27.0% (95% CI, 26.5-27.5) of non-Asians (P<0.001). The prevalence of low HDL-C in the absence of other lipid abnormalities (isolated low HDL-C) was higher in Asians compared with non-Asians: 22.4% (95% CI, 22.2-22.5) versus 14.5% (95% CI, 14.1-14.9), respectively (P<0.001). During 6.8 years of follow-up, there were 574 coronary heart disease and 739 stroke events. There was an inverse relationship between low HDL-C with coronary heart disease in all individuals (hazard ratio, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.31-1.87). In Asians, isolated low levels of HDL-C were as strongly associated with coronary heart disease risk as low levels of HDL-C combined with other lipid abnormalities (hazard ratio, 1.67 [95% CI, 1.27-2.19] versus 1.63 [95% CI, 1.24-2.15], respectively). There was no association between low HDL-C and stroke risk in this population (hazard ratio, 0.95 [95% CI, 0.78 to 1.17] with nonisolated low HDL-C and 0.81 [95% CI, 0.67-1.00] with isolated low HDL-C). CONCLUSION: Isolated low HDL-C is a novel lipid phenotype that appears to be more prevalent among Asian populations, in whom it is associated with increased coronary risk. Further investigation into this type of dyslipidemia is warranted.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2056 - 2064


Adult Aged Asian Continental Ancestry Group/*statistics & numerical data Australasia/epidemiology Cholesterol, HDL/*blood Coronary Disease/*blood/*ethnology Dyslipidemias/*blood/*ethnology Far East/epidemiology Female Humans India/epidemiology Male Middle Aged Obesity/blood/ethnology Prevalence Risk Factors