Cholesterol HDL to LDL Ratio

Is cholesteroal ratio important for body? Know the significance of HDL to LDL and Cholesterol To HDL ratio.

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It was thought that the LDL HDL cholesterol ratio (or HDL LDL ratio) was more important than individual levels of HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. But now the medical community is divided on the effectiveness of using the ratio to predict the chances of developing heart disease. It is now generally believed that the individual cholesterol numbers are more useful than the ratio.

The Foundation recommends that irrespective of the ratio, one should try to reduce the LDL cholesterol.

Total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio (Total / HDL) is found by dividing total cholesterol by HDL cholesterol. The total cholesterol is the sum of HDL, LDL, and the VLDL.

Total/HDL Ratio
= [Total Cholesterol/HDl Cholesterol]

This ratio becomes high when the total cholesterol increases and HDL cholesterol decreases. Low ratio indicates lower risk of heart attack, while high ratio indicates higher risk. The total/HDL becomes low for low total cholesterol and high HDL cholesterol values. The safe total/HDL ratio is less than 4. Total/HDL is more commonly obtained because the total cholesterol is easier and cheaper to obtain.

LDL to HDL cholesterol ratio (LDL/HDL) is found by diving LDL cholesterol by HDL cholesterol values.

LDL/HDL Ratio
= [LDL Cholesterol / HDL Cholesterol]

Some experts consider LDL/HDL ratio as more important ratio than total cholesterol/HDL because LDL is a measure of bad cholesterol and HDL is a measure of good cholesterol.

One should try to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.

It should be noted that calculating your cholesterol ratio can provide useful information about your heart disease risk, but it does not tell about the treatment to reduce the risk.

  Ratio of LDL to HDL
Risk Men Women
Very low (1/2 average) 1 1.5
Average risk 3.6 3.2
Moderate risk (2x average) 6.3 5.0
High risk (3x risk) 8 6.1


Ratio of total Cholesterol to HDL
Risk Men Women
Very low (1/2 average) <3.4 <3.3
Low risk 4.0 3.8
Average risk 5.0 4.5
Moderate risk (2x average) 9.5 7.0
High risk (3x risk) >23 >11

If your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or 5.2 mmol/L and your HDL cholesterol is 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L), your cholesterol ratio (Total to HDL) is 200/50=4. According to the American Heart Association, the goal is to keep an optimum ratio of 3.5-to-1. A higher ratio indicates a higher risk of heart disease.

Recent Heart Foundation recommendation is that irrespective of the ratio, one should try to reduce the LDL cholesterol.





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