Total Cholesterol Almost Always Irrelevant to Heart Disease Risk

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January 02, 2008 | 55,003 views

Investigators were able to demonstrate a profound effect on the atherosclerotic disease process in patients with low cholesterol levels by using pravastatin to improve their cholesterol patterns.

Circulation May 12, 1998;97:1784-1790

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

Unless one has a genetic defect of LDL which usually results in cholesterol levels above 350, the total cholesterol level is just about worthless in determining one's risk for heart disease. This study done in the prestigious cardiology journal used a drug to "prove" this point. One does not have to pay the price with their income or loss of health though by using these drugs to achieve this benefit. It can be done with diet for just about everyone.

It is important to note what lab values ARE associated with risk for heart disease. The two most important are the HDL/Cholesterol and Triglyceride/HDL ratios. Generally the HDL ratio should be above 25 and preferably in the 30s. If it is in the 40s, that nearly guarantees immunity from heart disease. Whereas if it is below 15, and certainly below 10, a heart attack is inevitable. To calculate the ratio simply divide your HDL by your TOTAL cholesterol and multiply by 100 (move the decimal point over two places to the right). It is just a matter of when, not if, it will happen. The triglyceride ratio should be below 2.0.