T Nation

Cholesterol Question

I have a question on cholesterol. I just got my cholesterol levels checked, and my LDL (bad cholesterol) is 96, while my HDL (good cholesterol) is 82. The doctor said that LDL under 100 is excellent and HDL over 40 is excellent, so by both measures, mine is excellent. However, my total cholesterol is apparently 203.

(A.) How do they get to 203 if 96+82 = 178, and (B.) since they claim that total cholesterol should be under 200, is mine somehow bad (since it’s 203), even though my LDL and HDL are, separately, great? I’m confused as to whether or not I should be happy with these numbers. Thanks for any input.

The ratio of Chol-to-HDL is more important than the raw numbers. You have very high HDL levels, which is great and is actually associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The total chol. number is made up of LDL+HDL+VLDL (96+82+x=203, x=#VLDL,solve for x :-). Most people are not concerned with VLDL levels since they do not contain much chol.

I hope this clears up your question. Incidentally, I would recommend that your doctor measure your homocysteine level, which in the last several years has been shown to be an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. If it is elevated you would need to increase your intake of B9(folic acid),B12,and B6, as these nutrients play an important roll in the pathway which helps the body reduce homocysteine.