Cholesterol is usually considered to be bad for a person’s health, but in reality, there are good and bad cholesterol, and this is a naturally occurring substance in your body. The foods that you eat bring in some of these cholesterols, while others are formed in the liver. What is important isn’t that you rid your life of cholesterol, but that your LDL HDL cholesterol ratio is normal, with the HDL, or good cholesterols, outweighing the LDL, or bad cholesterols.
LDL is called bad cholesterol because as it increases, it can create plaque, sticking to artery walls and blocking them until a heart attack occurs. The HDL helps to carry the bad cholesterol back to the liver, cleaning up the LDL that are floating around in the blood stream.
To determine whether the cholesterol in your body is healthy for you, you calculate your LDL HDL cholesterol ratio. This ratio is obtained by comparing your entire cholesterol count to your HDL level. It often looks something like this: 3.5:1. Usually, you would want to be below this number to ensure that your cholesterol ratio indicates a healthy level. The total amount of cholesterol that you use in the equation shouldn’t be more than 200. If your number is over 200, you may need to speak to your doctor.
In men and women, the targeted ratio may differ slightly. Men should aim at a number around the 3.4 mark to ensure that their cholesterol values are normal and reduce their chances of a heart attack. Those who allow this number to increase are also increasing their risks. In women, keeping it around 3.3 is best for fending off heart attack risks, while 4.4 puts them at a greater risk of heart illness.
Something that is interesting when reading your ratio, is that you and your spouse may have exactly the same number as a total cholesterol count, but entirely different ratios. Due to the fact that ratios are determined using good and bad cholesterol levels, your ratio could change based on having more HDL than your partner. What is important isn’t that ratios are exactly the same, but rather they should be within the normal and healthy range.
Bringing Your Body Up To Code:
If your LDL HDL cholesterol ratio is off the charts, and you find yourself worrying that you are on the way to bad health, you can speak to your physician about possible remedies. For many, this will simply include a healthier lifestyle in terms of eating right, exercising, and even drinking enough water. In extreme cases, your doctor may prescribe you some medication to lower the LDL level in your system, or direct you to a nutritionist who can help you create a meal plan which will bring your levels to a normal range.
Physicians base the treatment on the total amount of cholesterol in your system, not just the LDL, although it does have more of a negative impact on your body. Many foods can help to balance these numbers out, but it takes time and in most cases a lifestyle change, rather than just a diet change.
Cholesterol Levels Chart: