By now everyone is familiar with cholesterol and its role in cardiovascular health. It is important to realize, however, that while a high cholesterol is an important risk factor, it is not the only one. Many people hospitalized for a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels. Therefore, there are many other contributing factors to cardiovascular disease.
Total cholesterol is made up of HDL (the good) and LDL (the bad). A key marker to assess is the cardiovascular risk is the ratio of total cholesterol (LDL + HDL) to HDL. The recommend ratio is below 4.5, and the ideal ratio is 3.1 or lower.
While medications can be very effective at lowering cholesterol, they don’t get to the cause of why it is elevated. Going beyond “diet and exercise”, many other factors play a role. Some examples are dysglycemia, inflammation, poor gallbladder function, gut health, toxicity, and hormonal imbalance.
What if your cholesterol is really high? Many people feel that their only option is a medication. However, there are affordable blood tests capable of determining which type of “hyperlipoproteinemia” you have. These are genetic lipid disorders (there are five types). Each has its own diet management. For example, one type would respond well to a diet low in saturated fat while another would respond well to a lower carbohydrate diet.