Contributed by – Healthians Team

We all have time and again, heard about the love-hate relationship that our heart shares with cholesterol. High cholesterol levels paves the path that gradually leads to heart problems. Hence, it is really important to understand:

  • Cholesterol
  • The important cholesterol ratios
  • The relation between cholesterol ratio and heart health
  • How to control cholesterol?
  • How to maintain healthy cholesterol ratio?

Too much or high cholesterol is an inevitable invitation to heart problems and risk of heart diseases. This article is dedicated to understanding cholesterol ratios and its relationship with your heart, it is crucial to understand cholesterol and know the how’s and why’s related with it.

Understanding Cholesterol

Cholesterol is an oil based, waxy and fat-like substance that is found in every cell and travels around the body in the bloodstream. Cholesterol is manufactured by the liver and food products are also a major source. There are basically two types of cholesterol:

Functions Of Cholesterol

Cholesterol is not all bad. It plays an essential role in the functioning of the body. A lot of important functions are dependent on cholesterol:

  • Contributes to the structure of the cell wall
  • Helps in the production of the digestive bile in the liver
  • Aids in the production of Vitamin D
  • Assists in the formation of sex hormones

Determining Cholesterol Levels

The cholesterol levels vary according to age, gender and weight. The key lies in maintaining the balance between the good and the bad cholesterol levels as it is essential for heart health and preventing the risk of heart diseases. Determining cholesterol ratio is important as it helps in understanding the heart risk and is also an indicator of changes needed to ensure the heart health.

The first and foremost step to this process includes getting the cholesterol test also known as the lipid profile done. It is advised to abstain from food and water or a fasting of approximately 9-12 hours is required before the test. The results come in three numbers:

Cholesterol Ratio Calculator

The cholesterol ratio gives a clear picture of cholesterol level and heart risks.

To calculate the cholesterol ratio; divide the total cholesterol number by your HDL cholesterol number.

If your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L) and your HDL is 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L), your ratio would be 4-to-1.

Higher ratios mean a higher risk of heart disease.

What Is The Ideal Cholesterol Ratio?

The ideal cholesterol ratio is 4: 1.

The ideal levels of other involved parameters  are:

  • Total cholesterol: below 200 mg/dL
  • Low density lipoprotein LDL: Between 100-129mg/dL
  • High density lipoprotein HDL: 40mg/dL or higher in men, 60mg/dL or higher in women
  • Triglycerides: Under 150 mg/dL

Note: Women may have higher HDL levels because of higher levels of estrogen.

Cholesterol Ratio And The Associated Health Risks

Cholesterol levels should be kept under control as high cholesterol raises the chances of various heart problems. The high level or too much of bad cholesterol in the blood will cause accumulation and plaque build up in walls of the arteries resulting in narrowed arteries which causes obstruction in the blood flow to the heart. It can further lead to complete blockage and cause heart failure or heart attack.

The cholesterol ratio helps in determining the risks of such heart problems so that one can act on time and make the required changes in the lifestyle. The risk associated with cholesterol ratio differs in men and women.

The following cholesterol ratios indicate the different degree of risk for heart diseases in men and women:

  Average risk Half the average risk Twice the average risk
MEN 5.0 3.4 9.6
WOMEN 4.4 3.3 7.0
When To Get Cholesterol Checked?

Have we all not asked this question at some point or other. Well, everybody should get their cholesterol levels checked regularly as it is always better to be aware of our numbers. Cholesterol test is mostly recommended incase of:

  • Family history of early cardiovascular or peripheral artery diseases
  • Someone has suffered a minor stroke
  • Someone who is obese or over-weight
  • Someone suffering from kidney diseases
  • Someone suffering from an under-active thyroid
Causes Of High Cholesterol Levels

Our daily unhealthy lifestyle can lead to cholesterol problems and make a person really sick, the most common factors that cause the increase in cholesterol levels in the body are:

  • Lack of physical activity or exercise
  • Poor diet or bad eating habits
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol
  • Genetic
  • Large waist circumference
  • Liver or kidney diseases
Ways To Prevent High Cholesterol Levels

It is vital to take care of your health and stay healthy, small changes in our daily life can bring really major results.  High cholesterol levels can be prevented by:

  • Controlling the salt intake
  • Add more fresh fruits and green vegetables
  • Whole grains should become a regular part of your diet
  • Limit the amount of animal fat in the diet
  • Shed of those extra kilos and maintain a healthy weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercising on a regular basis
  • Consume alcohol in moderation

Healthy cholesterol ratio means a healthy heart, so take care of it!

Know Your Cholesterol Numbers