What does my total cholesterol ratio mean?

Marcus J. Cox, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The cholesterol ratio can provide useful information about your heart disease risk. It can be calculated by dividing the HDL or “good” cholesterol into the total cholesterol. Optimal ratio would be 3.5-1 and a higher ratio may indicate a higher risk of heart disease.

The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Some clinicians use the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol to help identify people who need cholesterol-lowering therapy. As a general rule of thumb, the lower the ratio, the better. To determine your ratio, simply divide total cholesterol by HDL cholesterol. Reports from the Framingham Heart Study suggest that for men, a total cholesterol-to-HDL ratio of 5 signifies average heart disease risk; for women, average risk is signified by a ratio of 4.4.
The total cholesterol ratio is an important measurement where your total cholesterol is divided by your "good" cholesterol. A high ratio indicates a higher risk of heart disease.

The total cholesterol ratio is total cholesterol over HDL. Watch this video to learn more from Dr. Curtis Mann about what your total cholesterol ratio means.

Continue Learning about Cholesterol



We need cholesterol, a fatty, waxy substance because our cells use it to form the membrane -- a critical part of the cell. But because it is fatty, it does not dissolve in the blood, but is carried to your cells by certain protein...

s. We get concerned about cholesterol when there is too much of it, particularly when there is too much "Low-Density Lipoprotein" or LDL cholesterol. This type of cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for coronary heart disease. On the other hand, there is High-Density or HDL cholesterol, which is "good" cholesterol, and good levels of HDL are associated with less risk of stroke and heart attack.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.