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Understand Your Numbers

A Lipid Profile is a detailed measure of the fats in your blood. It consists of measuring your total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and calculating your LDL cholesterol.

Total Cholesterol (TC) is a measure of the total amount of both "good" and "bad": cholesterol in your blood at a given time.

The "good" cholesterol is called High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. It removes excess cholesterol from your arteries and moves it to the liver for further processing or to be eliminated from the body. The higher your HDL the better. An HDL of 65 mg/dl or higher is beneficial and associated with a lower risk of heart disease. An HDL lower than 40 mg/dl is considered a risk factor for heart disease.

Triglycerides (TRG) are composed of fatty acids and glycerol. They circulate in your blood but are stored as body fat and used when the body needs extra energy. After eating, your TRG level increases significantly. If your body processes the fat efficiently, the TRG level will decrease naturally. Your fasting TRG level should be below 150 mg/dl.

"Bad" cholesterol is called Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL). It contributes to the buildup of fat deposits in your arteries (atherosclerosis) which can cause decreased blood flow and heart attack. An LDL of less than 130 mg/dl is generally acceptable. If you have a personal history of coronary artery disease or diabetes or if you have multiple risk factors your LDL should be below 100 mg/dl.

Non-HDL is TC minus HDL. A Non-HDL of 130 mg/dl is optimal. A level of greater than 160 is considered a risk factor for heart disease.

A TC/HDL ratio is total cholesterol divided by HDL. This ratio is used to assess the risk for developing heart disease. A level of 4.5 or lower is associated with lower risk.

Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT) and Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) are enzymes that are measured to determine the function of your liver. A normal range for ALT and AST is 10 – 40 U/L. Your ALT and AST levels will need to be monitored if you are on certain drugs to lower cholesterol, to control diabetes, or to treat various other diseases.

Desirable Levels

TRG < 150 mg/dl
HDL > 40 mg/dl
LDL < 130 mg/dl
Non-HDL < 160 mg/dl
TC/HDL < 4.5 mg/dl
ALT 10-40 U/L
AST 10-40 U/L