| Home | Article Database | Resources | Tools & Just for Fun | Search HY |

Ask the Medical Expert Archives 2000-2004

Expert Home  |  Archives by Date  |  Search Expert Archives  |  For Professionals  |  For Consumers


Cholesterol Concern
August 2001

Q. I am a 52-year-old female with the following lab results: Cholesterol Total 70; Triglycerides 77; HDL 38; VLDL 15; LDL 16, Ratio 0.4. Do you feel that these readings are too low? My total cholesterol has been near 70 for over 20 years. Should I be concerned? It seems that cholesterol isn't an exact science and I remember them revising the guidelines for what is high cholesterol. How important are these numbers? Thanks!

A. Cholesterol has been of interest and importance for nearly 50 years, as scientific study has shown a strong correlation between high cholesterol and heart disease. Research continues in this area as we seek new information trying to reduce heart disease rates which are still the leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. In recent years we have looked at the components that make up the total cholesterol and found that high density lipoprotein (HDL-cholesterol) has a protective effect and low density lipoprotein (LDL-cholesterol) has a detrimental effect on the heart and blood vessels.

In addition we are learning that other blood factors such as triglycerides and homocysteine play a role. The American Heart Association recommends that total cholesterol be 200 or less, HDL be above 40, and LDL less than 130. These can sometimes be achieved by following a low fat diet, but other measures may be needed as genetics strongly influence the metabolism of fats.

It is very uncommon to have a total cholesterol and LDL as low as yours. Ask your doctor if your thyroid is normal as an overactive thyroid will lower cholesterol significantly.

http://www.aafp.org/afp/20010115/323ph.html

http://www.familydoctor.org/healthfacts/358/

http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/1999/199_chol.html

Disclaimer Back to Ask the Medical Experts