What Does My Total Cholesterol Ratio Mean?

Read Transcript

That's really a two part question, there is a total cholesterol, what does that mean, and then there's a cholesterol ratio. So total cholesterol is, it's the simplest, least expensive test we have for cholesterol and it's a combination of good and bad cholesterol, that's why it only goes so far in helping us, but it's a snapshot as to what somebody's cholesterol is, and we divide them to three separate tiers, so 200 and below is considered to be a desirable cholesterol, 200 to 239 is less desirable, and then above 240 is considered to be unfavorable.

The cholesterol ratio gives us a lot more information, that's a total cholesterol over HDL which is your good cholesterol cholesterol, and there's been a lot of studies out there with what this means. So when we're looking at a male, a ratio of five would be considered average risk for heart disease, for a female that number would be 4.

4. The reason why is women generally have a little bit of an increase in HDL, the good cholesterol, compared to males. So, if a male or female is above those benchmarks, we consider them to be at higher risk for heart disease, if they're lower then that's less of a risk. Total cholesterol really does not gives us that information.