Total cholesterol is the sum of all the cholesterol within the blood. High total-cholesterol level may contribute to greater chance for heart disease.
The total-cholesterol reading does not provide everything, and it can be hazardous to the health or a cause of undue alarm.
It is generally assumed that one with a total blood cholesterol level below 200 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter) were at a lower risk for heart disease than those who has 200 mg/dl and above. However, it is not correct in every case, just read on to better understand how to read total-cholesterol.
Understand total cholesterol
However, the actual thing is different from these assumptions; just see below said example discussion for details.
There are two types of cholesterol; they are good cholesterol or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and a bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL). What really turns out to be important is not the total of HDL and LDL, but its ratio.
For example, one has a total cholesterol number of 161, considered as a good number because it is lower than standard that is less than 200 mg/dl. However, if the HDL contributes only 15 points of that total, then as per the National Cholesterol Education Panel's suggestion: the HDL levels of below 35 mg/dl as a major risk factor for heart disease. Thus, a total cholesterol reading of 161 is considering being in the opposite end on the risk scale than you thought.
Another example, one has a total cholesterol reading of 229, considered as bad because it is higher than the standard that is more than 200 mg/dl. However, if the HDL contributes some 68 points of that total, then as per The National Cholesterol Education Panel suggestion, the HDL level above 60 is recognizing as lowering the risk of atherosclerosis and in-turn heart attacks. Therefore, the total cholesterol reading of 229 is considering being in the opposite end on the risk scale than you thought.
Total cholesterol calculation
Formula for the calculation of total cholesterol is as below:
TC = LDL + HDL + (Triglycerides/5)
Whereas TC is the total-cholesterol, LDL is the low-density lipoprotein, and HDL is the high-density lipoprotein.
Total Cholesterol to HDL ratio
Calculation of total cholesterol to HDL ratio is by dividing total cholesterol by HDL cholesterol.
For example, if a person has total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL and an HDL cholesterol level of 50 mg/dL, the ratio would be 4:1. The normal suggested goal is to keep the ratio below 5:1; the optimum ratio is 3.5:1.
Low ratio indicates lower risk of heart-attack otherwise higher risk. The total/HDL ratio becomes fewer for low total cholesterol and high HDL cholesterol levels.
LDL to HDL ratio
Calculation of the LDL to the HDL cholesterol ratio is by diving LDL cholesterol by HDL cholesterol values.
Low ratio indicates lower risk of heart-attack otherwise higher risk. The LDL/HDL ratio becomes fewer for low LDL and high HDL cholesterol levels.
|Risk Level||LDL/HDL Ratio|
|Low risk||3.3 - 4.4|
|Average risk||4.4 - 7.1|
|Moderate risk||7.1 - 11.0|
|High risk||greater than 11.0|