How Do Doctors Calculate Cholesterol Level?


Quick Answer

Doctors calculate cholesterol levels by measuring and comparing three components of total cholesterol: high-density lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins and triglycerides. Doctors mainly focus on the ratio of low-density lipoproteins to total cholesterol. Excessive levels of low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, lead to artery damage, heart disease and stroke, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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How Do Doctors Calculate Cholesterol Level?
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Full Answer

Instead of directly measuring the content of LDL in the blood, health professionals use a simple formula to indirectly assess its concentration. First, they subtract the high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, measurement from the total cholesterol concentration. Next, they subtract the amount of triglycerides present. Finally, they divide the sum by five. This formula is widely used and represents a one-size-fits-all approach to LDL calculation, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

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