Cholesterol ratio: what it means for your health


Cholesterol levels are often used as a factor to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease. When checking your cholesterol levels, your healthcare provider can get a number of different results. One of them is your cholesterol level.

The cholesterol index is a comparison of total cholesterol with HDL cholesterol, which is then used as a tool to predict the risk of heart disease.

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What are the types of cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in the cells of the body. Cholesterol is necessary for many functions in the body, but not all cholesterol is the same.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is considered the "good" type of cholesterol, while low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is considered the "bad" type of cholesterol. Total cholesterol is the aggregate measure of all the different types of cholesterol in the blood.

What is the cholesterol ratio?

After measuring the levels of HDL, LDL and total cholesterol, the cholesterol ratio is calculated. The cholesterol ratio is calculated by dividing total cholesterol by HDL cholesterol. For example, if your total cholesterol is 180 and your HDL is 60, your cholesterol number is 3.

The relationship between non-HDL cholesterol and cholesterol.

Non-HDL cholesterol is the amount of HDL cholesterol that is subtracted from total cholesterol. It includes LDL cholesterol and other types of cholesterol such as very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, or VLDL.

Normal non-HDL cholesterol levels for adults are less than 130 mg / dL. The higher the number, the higher the risk of heart disease. Some doctors now choose to use your non-HDL cholesterol level over your cholesterol index when determining your risk for heart disease.

However, both non-HDL cholesterol and cholesterol ratio appear to be better predictors of cardiovascular risk than total or LDL cholesterol levels alone.

What is the normal ratio?

The optimal cholesterol ratio is 3.5 to 1, while a ratio of 5 or less is considered normal. A cholesterol ratio in the normal range means your cholesterol levels are most likely not contributing to heart risk.

What are the risks of a high relationship?

The higher your cholesterol level, the higher your risk for heart disease . A high ratio is generally associated with too high LDL and / or VLDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol. When cholesterol levels are not at normal levels, it can affect both the body and the heart.

Too much LDL cholesterol in the blood can cause a heart disease called atherosclerosis. This is a condition in which blood flow to the heart muscle slows down and can even stop blood flow to the heart altogether, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke.

How to raise cholesterol levels

Changes in lifestyle

If you want to increase your cholesterol levels, one of the best things you can do is change your lifestyle, for example through diet and exercise. The following are lifestyle habits that you can change to lower your cholesterol levels within the normal range:

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet . A heart-healthy eating plan generally limits the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat, including the healthiest unsaturated fats, as well as lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Examples of heart-healthy diets include dietary approaches to combat hypertension (DASH) , the Mediterranean diet, and the therapeutic lifestyle change (TLC) diet .
  • Maintain a healthy weight . High cholesterol levels can affect anyone , regardless of weight. However, being overweight is a risk factor for abnormal cholesterol levels. If you are overweight, losing even a small amount of weight can help improve your cholesterol levels.
  • Get involved in physical activity . Adults are encouraged to engage in moderate intensity physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week, or about 30 minutes on most, if not all, days of the week.
  • Manage your stress levels . Research has shown that chronic stress can lower HDL cholesterol and increase LDL cholesterol.
  • Stop smoking if you smoke . Smoking can increase LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is considered "good" because it helps remove excess cholesterol from tissues. Having more HDL cholesterol can help lower your risk of heart disease.


If lifestyle changes alone are not enough to lower your cholesterol levels, you may also need to take cholesterol medications. Statins are the most common class of drugs used to lower cholesterol levels. However, there are several different types of cholesterol-lowering medications available.

Different medications lower cholesterol levels in different ways and can have different side effects. Do not stop taking your cholesterol medicine if you think it is not right for you. Always talk with your healthcare provider about stopping, changing, and / or finding the right medicine for you.

Also, don't stop working to improve your lifestyle just because you're taking cholesterol medications. Cholesterol-lowering medications work best if you continue to make heart-healthy lifestyle changes.

Frequently asked questions

What is a good cholesterol ratio?

The optimal cholesterol ratio is 3.5 to 1, while a ratio of 5 or less is considered normal.

What is the cholesterol ratio?

The cholesterol index is a comparison of total cholesterol with HDL cholesterol, which is then used as a tool to predict the risk of heart disease.

How to calculate your cholesterol index?

The cholesterol ratio is calculated by dividing total cholesterol by HDL cholesterol.


Cholesterol ratio may be one of the tests reported when your healthcare provider checks your risk for heart disease. It is calculated based on total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. A lower number indicates less risk, the optimal level is between 3.5 and 1.

Get the word of drug information

The cholesterol ratio is only used as one piece of information to determine your risk for heart disease. Your healthcare provider will consider all of your cholesterol levels when making your treatment plan, including lifestyle changes and the medications you take. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

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