Relation between high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and survival to age 85 years in men (from the VA normative aging study)

Am J Cardiol. 2011 Apr 15;107(8):1173-7. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2010.12.015. Epub 2011 Feb 4.


No previous researchers have sought to determine whether high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels are associated with survival to 85 years of age in a prospective cohort of aging men. We selected 652 men (mean age 65 years) enrolled in the VA Normative Aging Study who had ≥ 1 HDL cholesterol level documented during the study and who were old enough on the date of HDL cholesterol measurement to reach 85 years of age by the end of follow-up (July 1, 2008). We categorized initial HDL cholesterol into < 40 mg/dl (reference group), 40 to 49 mg/dl, or ≥ 50 mg/dl. Information on co-morbidities, lifestyle factors, measured lipid parameters, and medications were collected during triennial visits. We used proportional hazards to determine hazard ratios (HRs) for mortality before age 85 years for each category of initial HDL cholesterol compared to the reference adjusting for co-morbidities, calculated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, medications, smoking, body mass index, and alcohol consumption. Treating HDL cholesterol as a continuous predictor, we also determined the HR for each 10-mg/dl increment in HDL cholesterol. Fully adjusted HR (95% confidence interval) for survival to 85 years of age for participants with an initial HDL cholesterol level ≥ 50 mg/dl compared to the reference was 0.72 (0.53 to 0.98). Each 10-mg/dl increment in HDL cholesterol was associated with a 14% (HR 0.86, 0.78 to 0.96) decrease in risk of mortality before 85 years of age. In conclusion, after adjusting for other factors associated with longevity, higher HDL cholesterol levels were significantly associated with survival to 85 years of age.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / blood*
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors
  • Veterans


  • Cholesterol, HDL