Forget LDL – Look at Your TG/HDL

Great news from the M.D. today regarding my lipid profile:

Triglycerides – 37 (recommended less than 150)
HDL – 73 (recommended greater than 40)
LDL – 126 (recommended less than 130)

Why is this great news? Because my triglycerides-to HDL-ratio is ridiculously low. Basically, anything below 2.0 is considered to be an indicator of excellent heart health. Mine came in at 0.506.

The funny thing is that – despite these rather excellent results – I still received the perfunctory lecture from the doctor’s office cautioning me about my “borderline” LDL cholesterol levels. It was recommended that I eat more fruits and vegetables (which I do already), defer to leaner cuts of meat (ditto), and exercise more to bring the LDL levels down (they obviously do not read this blog).

For the record, I don’t place much stock in LDL levels as effective indicators of cardiovascular disease risk. And I’m not alone in this assessment. According to a recent study highlighted in the journal, Clinics:

The ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol (TG/HDL-C) is the single most powerful lipid predictor of extensive coronary disease.

In America, we have this unfortunate obsession with LDL cholesterol levels when we would be much better served by focusing on factors like TG/HDL ratios and the role of systemic inflammation in coronary artery disease.

Remember, there are a lot of advanced heart disease patients who have had very good LDL levels their entire lives – but awfully lousy TG/HDL ratios.

2 Comments

  1. Dan
    September 6, 2010

    Hey – thanks for the post. I basically have the same lipid panel as you and was a little bummed about my “at risk” LDL score of 132. TG (48) and HDL (61) puts the ratio at .78 – well below 2. Yeah!

  2. Mom!
    August 4, 2009

    Steve, so proud of your “health” report! Looking forward to our visit this coming weekend and meeting Ann! Loved the beautiful, Sunrise photo! Later, God Bless, Ciao!


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