Q:

How does a LDL/HDL ratio reflect someone's health?

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Quick Answer

Maintaining a healthy LDL/HDL ratio helps avoid problems such as heart disease and stroke, according to WebMD. High-density lipoprotein is known as good cholesterol, while low-density lipoprotein is bad cholesterol. An ideal LDL/HDL ratio is less than 3.5 to 1, states Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

HDL cholesterol takes bad cholesterol out of the blood stream and back into the liver, explains WebMD. If a person's LDL cholesterol is higher, it increases the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. A doctor gives a patient a total cholesterol, as well as the HDL and LDL number. To calculate the ratio, divide the total cholesterol level by the HDL cholesterol level.

Some doctors believe that giving a patient the nonHDL cholesterol level may be better than giving out the cholesterol ratio, notes Mayo Clinic. Giving the nonHDL cholesterol or the ratio is a more helpful option than just giving out total cholesterol or the low-density lipoprotein number. To calculate nonHDL cholesterol levels, subtract the HDL numbers from the total cholesterol and the remaining number contains all bad types of cholesterol, not just LDL. The ideal level of nonHDL cholesterol is less than 130 milligrams per deciliter. Having a cholesterol ratio higher than 3.5 to 1 or a nonHDL cholesterol higher than 130 milligrams per deciliter increases the risk of heart disease.

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