Cholesterol HDL Ratio

How Important Is My Cholesterol/HDL Ratio?

Health awareness is leading many people to become interested in discovering their cholesterol/HDL ratio. Oddly enough, most of them don’t understand what the ratio means, or how to apply it to their health level or risk of heart disease. For information on calculating your cholesterol/HDL ratio, understanding it, and determining just how important it is to you, see the various sections of this article.

If your cholesterol ratio is concerning to you, keep in mind that there are several ways to lower the bad cholesterol and improve your overall health. Speak to your doctor if you have any questions.

How Do I Calculate My Cholesterol/HDL Ratio?

Calculating your ratio is a simple matter of division. Essentially what you need to do is to divide your HDL (high-density lipoprotein—the good cholesterol) into your total cholesterol. For instance, if your total cholesterol is 240, and your HDL is 60, then your cholesterol/HDL ratio would be 4 to 1. If your HDL is 40, then your ratio would be 6 to 1.

What Does the Ratio Mean?

Now that you can calculate your ratio, it’s time to learn what the numbers mean in regards to your health. Ideally, your ratio should be 4 to 1 or lower. Higher ratios mean you have a higher chance of developing heart problems, and likewise, a lower ratio means that you have a lower chance.

As you can see, there is a lot of room for error in this formula. You may have a 4 to 1 ratio, but your cholesterol count could be astronomically high, still leaving you at a greater risk for developing heart conditions.

Is Knowing My Cholesterol/HDL Ratio Enough?

Finding out your ratio and what it means is not necessarily an accurate indicator of your heart health. It is much more beneficial to you in the long run to simply find out what your exact numbers are for your LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol levels. These numbers are much more accurate at predicting your risk of heart damage and can go a long way towards helping determine what treatments are best for you should you in fact come into coronary distress.

The ratio simply helps you determine whether or not you have a gross misappropriation of bad vs. good cholesterol in your body. Consider it an early warning system.

What Cholesterol Levels Should I be Aiming for?

Instead of focusing primarily on your cholesterol ratios, it would be wiser to focus on the actual numbers and strive for healthy levels of cholesterol in your blood. For example, if you live in the United States, your total cholesterol level should ideally be below 200. 202 – 239 is considered to be borderline high cholesterol, but a level of 240 and above needs to be taken seriously right away.


Your HDL target level is going to vary depending on if you are a man or a woman. Both sexes should try and maintain a fairly high level of HDL, generally 60 – 70. 50 – 59 is still considered to be a decent level for both sexes, but men can still have an HDL level of 40 before their level is considered to be in poor shape.

Additionally, your LDL level plays an important role in your cardiovascular health as well. 70 and below is considered the ideal level for people that are already at a high risk for developing heart problems. 100 and below is a very good level for people that are at risk, but not in immediate danger of developing heart issues. 100 – 129 is considered very good for the majority of people. 130 – 159 is approaching danger and is considered to be borderline high. 160 – 189 is considered high, and anything above that number is categorized as very high.

If you would like help getting your cholesterol under control, speak to your doctor and discuss your options and new treatments.