Healthy Heart Reports
How To Interpret Cholesterol Values
Doctors no longer predict your chances of suffering a heart attack by how high your total cholesterol is. They use a ratio between your HDL cholesterol and your LDL cholesterol. Here's a simple guideline to help you interpret your own numbers.
H stands for healthy, to help you remember that HDL cholesterol is good; and L stands for lousy, so LDL cholesterol is bad. The good HDL cholesterol carries cholesterol from your bloodstream to your liver where it can be removed from your body. The bad LDL cholesterol carries cholesterol to your arteries where it forms plaques. The good HDL cholesterol protects you from the bad LDL cholesterol, so if your LDL is 100, you need at least 40 HDL to protect you. If your LDL is 140, you need at least 65 HDL to protect you. An LDL over 140 should be lowered, no matter how high your HDL is. You can predict your risk just by interpolating between these values.
If you are in Canada, these values are divided by 40. If your LDL is 2.6, you need at least a 1.02 HDL to protect you. If your LDL is 3.6, you need an HDL of at least 1.67 to protect you.
You can lower your LDL cholesterol by restricting your intake of saturated and partially hydrogenated fats and reducing your intake of calories.
Copyright 2000 www.DrMirkin.com
Dr. Mirkin's opinions and the references cited are for information only, and are not intended to diagnose or prescribe. For your specific diagnosis and treatment, consult your doctor or health care provider.
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