How do you calculate cholesterol ratio?


Quick Answer

Cholesterol ratio is determined by dividing a person's total cholesterol level by his HDL cholesterol level, explains Mayo Clinic. Calculating cholesterol ratio helps determine an individual's risk for developing heart disease.

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Full Answer

A higher cholesterol ratio indicates an increased risk for heart disease, notes Mayo Clinic. A ratio of 5 to 1 or lower is acceptable, and a ratio of 3.5 to 1 is optimal. Although cholesterol ratio helps determine a person's risk level, it does not provide all of the information needed to develop a risk modification plan.

Elevated triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels also increase a person's risk for developing heart disease, explains WebMD. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the bloodstream, while LDL cholesterol carries protein and fat in the blood. Having elevated triglyceride and LDL levels together typically increase the risk for heart disease more than an elevated LDL alone. High levels of HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. HDL, or high-density lipoprotein, binds with fat molecules and moves them to the liver.

Cholesterol and triglyceride levels are not the only pieces of information used to determine the risk for heart disease, states WebMD. Doctors also take into account a patient's gender, age, race and blood pressure. A history of diabetes or tobacco use also affects the risk of developing heart disease.

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