Blood cholesterol readings are used to assess health and to determine risk of disease. A comprehensive blood cholesterol reading has several components, and one of these is the cholesterol ratio. While this ratio is not used to determine appropriate treatment to reduce high cholesterol, it is sometimes used as a predictor of heart disease risk. The higher your cholesterol ratio, the higher your risk of developing heart disease.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Determine your total cholesterol reading in mg/dl. If you have recently had your blood cholesterol measured by a health professional, total cholesterol will be provided. It is often abbreviated "TC."
Determine your high-density lipoprotein cholesterol in mg/dl. This also called "HDL cholesterol" and is often referred to as "good" cholesterol.
Divide your total cholesterol by your HDL cholesterol.
Record the ratio you determine through this calculation. This is your cholesterol ratio. For example, if your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dl and your HDL cholesterol is 40 mg/dl, your ratio is 5:1.
Aim to keep your ratio below 5:1 for health. An optimum level is 3.5:1.
Tips and warnings
- When you have blood work done at the doctor's office, your cholesterol ratio is often calculated for you.
- Seek the help of your health care provider for guidance on how to reduce your cholesterol ratio to a healthy level. Changes in diet to include more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and an increase in physical activity are great places to start.
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