Total Cholesterol : HDL
The cholesterol/HDL ratio is calculated by dividing your total cholesterol value by your HDL cholesterol level. It is used as a measure of cardiovascular risk because it gives a good insight into the proportion of your total cholesterol which is "good" (i.e. high-density lipoprotein, HDL). Heart disease risk tools (such as QRisk) use the cholesterol/HDL ratio to calculate your risk of having a heart attack.
What might a low result mean?
A low cholesterol/HDL ratio indicates a lower risk of cardiovascular disease because you have a high proportion of protective HDL cholesterol.
What might a high result mean?
A higher ratio may indicate a higher risk of heart disease. This is because more of your cholesterol is made up of LDL cholesterol. Too much LDL cholesterol can leave damaging deposits on the walls of your blood vessels which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
How might I improve my result?
You can aim to improve your cholesterol/HDL ratio by reducing your level of LDL cholesterol while at the same time increasing your level of healthy HDL cholesterol. Replace saturated animal fats with heart-healthy fats found in oily fish, nuts and seeds and aim to eat a diet high in whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables as are found in the Mediterranean diet. Try to increase the amount of exercise you take, especially if you are sedentary as regular exercise has been shown to improve HDL cholesterol levels. If you are overweight, losing any excess weight may also help.
If lifestyle measures do not improve your cholesterol/HDL ratio our doctors may suggest you see your doctor to discuss whether cholesterol lowering medication is right for you.