Total Cholesterol

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Total cholesterol is the sum of all the cholesterol within the blood. High total-cholesterol level may sometimes contribute to greater chance for heart disease.

Total Cholesterol TC

Total cholesterol is the measure of aggregate cholesterol by breaking down all lipoprotein particles (VLDL, IDL, LDL, and HDL).

Total Cholesterol

The total-cholesterol reading does not provide everything. It is generally assumption, one with a TC level below 200 mg/dl were at a lower heart-disease risk than those who has above this range. However, it is not correct in every case, just read on to understand how to read total-cholesterol.

Understand total cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol; they are HDL-C and LDL-C. Additionally; each lipoprotein has triglyceride's loads.


Generally, Friedewald Formula is used to calculate VLDL & LDL from total, HDL and triglycerides.

VLDL-C = Triglycerides/5;

LDL-C = Total cholesterol – (HDL-C + VLDL-C);

For example, one has a total cholesterol number of 161, considered as a good number. It is lower than standard, which is less than 200 mg/dl. However, if the HDL contributes only 15 points of the total; it means high level of triglyceride is a major predictor of heart disease. As per the National Cholesterol Education Panel's suggestion, the HDL level of below 35 mg/dl is a chief 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. It is higher than the standard, which is more than 200 mg/dl. However, if the HDL contributes 68 points of the total; it means a low level of triglyceride, no risk towards heart disease. 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.

Australian Aboriginals, Native Americans, Emigrant Asian Indians and section of Russian men have low cholesterol levels and high heart disease rates. On the other hand, the Swiss and the French have higher cholesterol levels and lower heart disease rates.

A high-cholesterol level did not actually cause heart disease; however, act as a heart-disease marker in younger men.

Total/HDL ratio

Divide the total cholesterol (TC) by the HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) to calculate TC to HDL-C ratio. Elevated TC and dropped HDL-C raises the ratio, which is undesirable shown to increase the heart-attack risk. Low ratio indicates lower risk. For example, if a person has TC of 200 mg/dL and an HDL-C of 40 mg/dL, the ratio is 5. Women have higher HDL-C levels, thus the ratio for women is lower compare to men.

Total cholesterol to HDL-C ratio

The total cholesterol to the HDL cholesterol ratio is a number help predicting the risk for atherosclerosis.  Cholesterol research scientists were divided on the effectiveness of using this cholesterol ratio for predicting the risk of developing heart disease. Reports from the Framingham Heart Study suggest a TC to HDL-C ratio of 9.6 (for men) and 7 (for women) could double the average risk.  

How do you improve your total cholesterol level?

  • Red yeast rice is fermented rice by Monascus purpureus yeast. Studies have shown this can significantly reduce total cholesterol (TC) and specifically LDL-C. Supplementing 2.4 grams per day can reduce LDL-C levels by 22% and TC by 16% in 12 weeks.
  • Psyllium husk comes from the crushed seeds of the Plantago ovata plant. Studies have shown it is effective in lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol levels and heals IBD (Crohn's Disease and Colitis). Additionally, it acts as prebiotic, aiding to heal the inner lining of the inflamed intestines.
  • The studies shows taking one-half gram or one gram of garlic was consumed a day. The garlic lowered total cholesterol and triglyceride levels by up to 20 mg/dL in humans. LDL cholesterol levels were modestly lowered, whereas HDL cholesterol not affected by the garlic. Garlic contains the chemical allicin shown to kill bacteria and fungi, and alleviate certain digestive disorders. It also lowers the clotting properties of blood.
  • Limit or stop drinking alcohol – it has calories and even very small amounts can raise your triglyceride's levels. If you must drink alcohol, limit it to no more than one a day. Some studies shows drinking more than one-drink a day for women or two for men can raise triglyceride levels by a lot.
  • Avoid smoking and smokers – it definitely affects your cholesterol level and deteriorates entire health. If you smoke or use tobacco, quit at your earliest even avoid breathing in tobacco fumes.
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