A good total cholesterol-to-HDL ratio is below 5, and ideally 3.5, according to Harvard Health Publications. A total cholesterol reading of 200 is necessary to be considered in the healthy range.
A study by Harvard Medical School shows that men with a ratio higher than 5 increase their risk of heart disease. This risk doubles when the ratio of total cholesterol-to-HDL level reaches 9.6, while keeping the ratio near 3.4 lowers the risk for heart disease by half. Women with a ratio of 4.4 have a higher risk for heart disease, while this risk doubles when the ratio reaches 7. To half the overall risk, a woman needs a ratio of 3.3, signifying a healthy cholesterol ratio.