There has been a lot of debate concerning the perfect cholesterol ratio for an individual. If you are trying to understand the correct ratio for your body, it is important to recognize the fact that you can come across different types of cholesterol, and that the levels of each can have effect on your health. Cholesterol is the fatty substance which is naturally produced in the body and transported by the blood to different parts of the body. It carries out different functions like formation of tissues and hormones and the production of fat-soluble vitamins and bile acids.
There are three components, which are involved when discussing cholesterol. They are:
- LDL-cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein
- HDL-cholesterol all high density lipoprotein
You need to take into account the level of each component that you have in your body when you want to find the perfect cholesterol ratio. Even though high cholesterol in the body is not regarded as a disease, the presence of it can lead to different diseases. To a certain extent, what the individual eats can contribute to high cholesterol, even though the liver is the organ responsible for cholesterol production. The following relationship can help you to determine the perfect cholesterol ratio for yourself:
- Total Cholesterol/HDL: this ratio is determined when you divide total cholesterol into the HDL cholesterol in the body. For instance, if an individual has total cholesterol of 240 mg/dl and HDL cholesterol of 30 mg/dl, then the Total/HDL ratio gives 8:1. The ideal ratio for the body should be 3.5:1 or below. However, doctors and scientists have different views on how these ratios can help in the prediction in the likelihood of having heart disease. Therefore, it is recommended by the American Heart Association that one should use absolute numbers for the total and HDL cholesterol in place of this Total/HDL cholesterol ratio. The belief is that absolute numbers regarding cholesterol give a better guide in planning treatment than the cholesterol ratio.
- HDL/LDL: this ratio compares the level of HDL cholesterol (good) to LDL cholesterol (bad). In this case, it is recommended to have a ratio of 0.4:1, but if you do not have this, it is recommended that you should maintain a ratio above 0.3:1.
- LDL/HDL: this compares the level of LDL cholesterol (bad) to HDL cholesterol (good) in the body. It is recommended that an average individual should maintain 2.5:1, and it is recommended to maintain a ratio below 3.5:1. Like in the case of total cholesterol/HDL ratio, there are different views on whether LDL/HDL ratio is more useful than LDL cholesterol or total cholesterol levels in the prediction of the risk of getting heart disease. In treating high cholesterol, it is recommended that one should use absolute numbers for HDL and LDL.
For a perfect cholesterol ratio, the following numerical levels are advised:
Total Cholesterol = Not above 200 mg/dL
LDL = Not above 100 mg/dL
HDL = Never less than 60 mg/dL
These are the normal levels of cholesterol:
Total cholesterol = Between 200-240 mg/dL
HDL = Between 40-60 mg/dL
LDL = Between 100-160 mg/dL
The levels of cholesterol which indicate high risk or danger of heart problems are:
Total Cholesterol = Above 240 mg/dL
LDL = Much above 160 mg/dL
HDL = Much below 40 mg/dL
Ways of managing high cholesterol levels
The major ways through which you can manage high cholesterol levels are:
- Reduce LDL cholesterol by eating the foods which are low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fat. You can replace them by eating foods that are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You should include this with eating fish with omega-3 fatty acids acids such as salmon. You should also eat soluble fibers like pectin,oats, guar gum, etc.
- Increase HDL-cholesterol levels by having a regular aerobic exercise in order to relax the blood vessels and reduce blood pressure.
- You should start taking medications like statins to reduce LDL cholesterol levels. The medications can also help in reducing triglycerides and slightly increase the levels of HDL cholesterol. In many people, statins have been known to reduce the risk of heart diseases.
It is possible to have the perfect cholesterol ratio, though this is going to take effort and time on your part. It is a matter of lifestyle changes, and it can take some months before you start seeing results.