Heart Health

Important Cholesterol Ratio

Prevent a Heart Attack: Know Your Ratio?

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., M.S.

 

 

The published evidence is quite clear in documenting that the actual total cholesterol level itself is not the most important risk factor of cardiovascular disease.

 

It is the ratio between the level of HDL-"good" cholesterol and total cholesterol that we need to be concerned about.

 

 

 

Therefore, in adults, the HDL-"good" cholesterol/total cholesterol ratio should be higher than 0.24 (just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol).

 

Or more precisely, the HDL/total cholesterol ratio:

  • 0.24 or higher is considered ideal

  • under 0.24 - low

  • less than 0.10 - very dangerous.

Generally speaking, the higher the ratio, the better (the lower your risk of a heart attack).

 

However, HDL is closely related to triglycerides. 

 

It appears common for people with high triglycerides to have low HDL's, and these same people also tend to have high levels of clotting factors in their blood stream, which is unhealthy in protecting against heart disease.

 

Therefore, in adults, the triglyceride/HDL-"good" cholesterol ratio should be below 2  (just divide your triglycerides level by your HDL).

 

Or more precisely, the triglyceride/HDL ratio:

  • 2 or less is considered ideal

  • 4 - high

  • 6 - much too high

And, since HDL (high density lipoprotein) is protective against heart disease, the lower the ratio, the better. 

 

In other words, the lower your triglycerides, or the higher your HDL, the smaller this ratio becomes.

 

It is now believed that the triglycerides/HDL ratio is one of the most potent predictors of heart disease. 

 

A Harvard-lead study author reported:

 

"High triglycerides alone increased the risk of heart attack nearly three-fold.

 

And people with the highest ratio of triglycerides to HDL -- the "good" cholesterol -- had 16 times the risk of heart attack as those with the lowest ratio of triglycerides to HDL in the study of 340 heart attack patients and 340 of their healthy, same age counterparts.

 

The ratio of triglycerides to HDL was the strongest predictor of a heart attack, even more accurate than the LDL/HDL ratio (Circulation 1997;96:2520-2525)."

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Vitamin Deficiency Linked to Stroke and Plaque Buildup in Carotid Artery

Vitamin Deficiency Linked to Stroke and Plaque Buildup in Carotid Arteries

Ronald Grisanti D.C., D.A.B.C.O., D.A.C.B.N., MS

A study published in the the Canadian Medical Association Journal revealed that people low in vitamin B12 had an increase risk of a fatal heart attack and stroke.

The study focused on the relationship between homocysteine, B-12 and carotid artery plaque.

The study showed that higher blood levels of B vitamins are related to lower concentrations of homocysteine leading to decrease plaquing in the carotid arteries. However, an elevated blood homocysteine level revealed a strong risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

How the Study was Conducted
The study examined 421 people with the average age being 66. Vitamin B12, homocysteine levels and degree of plaque in the carotid arteries (via ultrasound) were evaluated.

The Results

Seventy-three patients (17%) had vitamin B12 deficiency with significant elevation of homocysteine. In addition and most important, carotid plaque was significantly larger among the group of patients who had deficiency of vitamin B12 In conclusion, the authors found that low blood vitamin B12 levels are a major cause of elevated homocysteine levels and increased carotid plaque area.

Dr. Grisanti's Comments
Have your physician order a blood homocysteine test and a methylmalonic acid (MMA) test. This is the most specific test for B12 status NOT the serum B-12 blood test.


Reference

Robertson J, Iemolo F, Stabler SP, Allen RH, Spence JD. Vitamin B12, homocysteine and carotid plaque in the era of folic acid fortification of enriched cereal grain products. CMAJ. 2005 Jun 7;172(12):1569-73.

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