Understanding Optimal Cholesterol Ratios
Once you have your cholesterol levels tested, you will likely begin to hear a lot about your optimal cholesterol ratio.
In order to calculate your cholesterol ratio, your high-density lipoprotein, or "good"/HDL, cholesterol level is divided into the total cholesterol level. To better understand cholesterol ratio, the American Heart Association gives the following example: if a person has a total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL and an HDL cholesterol level of 50 mg/dL, the ratio would be4:1.
According to the American Heart Association, the goal is to keep your cholesterol ratio below 5:1. 4:1 is considered good and a cholesterol level of 3:1 is optimal.
Calculating your cholesterol ratio can help your doctor determine your risk for heart disease. However, it does not necessarily determine the course of treatment needed to prevent cholesterol related problems.
To decide on a course of treatment for high cholesterol, the American Heart Association recommends using absolute numbers for total blood cholesterol and HDL cholesterol levels. "Bad" cholesterol levels, low-density lipoprotein or LDL levels must also be taken into account. If LDL cholesterol is measured at 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L) or above, the main goal of a cholesterol treatment would be to lower the LDL levels.