LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio is the ratio of two types of lipids in the blood. LDL stands for low density lipoprotein and HDL stands for high density lipoprotein. LDL is often considered “bad” cholesterol and HDL is “good” cholesterol. LDL is considered bad because high levels of LDL are associated with heart and blood vessel damage and disease. On the other hand, HDL tends to be protective against this damage, so higher levels of HDL are considered good. Both LDL and HDL are created by the liver. They are released into the blood to move fats and cholesterol around the body. Since LDL is “bad” and HDL is “good” it is best to have a lower LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio. A high ratio means that there is too much LDL relative to HDL. Aerobic exercise and eating foods low in saturated fat improve the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio. Certain drugs such as statins can also help lower the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio.
Normal Ranges for LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio:
Men: Less than 3.0
Women: Less than 2.5
Children to up 18 years of age: Less than 2.5
Critical Range: N/A
The LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio cannot be too low. However, LDL cholesterol may become very low or HDL can become very high, or both. Most people do not have any symptoms when these things occur. When cholesterol levels are very low, people may experience confusion and memory problems. In rare cases, the person may have a genetic condition that is causing low cholesterol. It is also possible that they are experiencing a severe disease such as cancer or severe anemia. Cholesterol medications can also lower the LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio.
Some specific causes of a low LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio are:
- Cholesteryl ester transfer protein deficiency
- Familial hyperalphalipoproteinemia
- Chylomicron retention disease
- Advanced, non-cholestatic liver disease
- Malignant cancer
- Drugs (Statins, Bile acid sequestrants, Ezetimibe)
If your LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio is too high, it means your LDL is too high, your HDL is too low, or both. Most people do not have any symptoms when LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio is too high. When cholesterol levels are very high, however, it may cause yellow deposits to form in the hands and around the eyes. People may also get small bumps of the skin that contain cholesterol deposits.
Some specific causes of a high LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio are:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Alcohol overuse
- Diabetes mellitus
- Cholestatic liver diseases
- Chronic kidney disease
- Certain drugs such as: Thiazides, Beta-blockers, Retinoids, Glucocorticoids, Highly active antiretroviral agents, Oral estrogens, Antirejection drugs.
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