Cholesterol Tips How Low Density Lipoprotein Is Calculated

Cholesterol Tips How Low Density Lipoprotein Is Calculated


Understanding your cholesterol levels and what the different types of cholesterol are is an important part of assessing your overall health. While most cholesterol levels are simply measured through a routine blood test, low density liporotein is calculated instead.

Cholesterol Tips How Low Density Lipoprotein Is Calculated

What is LDL-C

With cholesterol, it's not just how much you have in your system, but how it impacts your health. Low-density liporotein has a reputation for impacting your body negatively because it carries cholesterol through your body and often deposits it in your arteries. Cholesterol blood tests typically measure the amount of cholesterol found in LDL molecules, a measurement known as LDL-C. Measuring LDL-C levels allows your doctor to examine how your cholesterol is contributing to atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of arteries due to fatty build-up.

Is LDL directly measured

Measuring LDL levels through a blood test is uncommon due to the scarcity of labs that are able to handle the task and the cost associated with the measurement. However, most labs easily measure other lipids, including HDL (good cholesterol), triglycerides and total cholesterol and use those measurements to estimate your LDL-C levels. Your doctor has the ability to order a rare LDL direct measurement if you have extremely high triglyceride levels, certain health conditions or a more detailed lipid profile is needed for diagnosis.


If you want to lower your LDL levels, there are some vitamin supplements that show some promise of aiding in lowering LDL, but many supplements' advocates make this claim with no substantive information to back it up. The Mayo Clinic maintains a list of supplements that have some credible evidence supporting claims that they lower LDL. Healthy eating and regular exercise are still the best though. This has a proven, evidential track record.

What is the Friedewald equation

In lieu of direct measurement, LDL-C is estimated using formula called the Friedewald equation. This simple equation subtracts levels of other known cholesterol particles taken after a 12 to 14-hour fast. The basic formula subtracts HDL and triglyceride levels, which are divided by 5 to estimate very low density-lipoproteins from total cholesterol levels to estimate LDL-C levels. The Friedewald equation is considered by the medical community to be accurate as long as it is based on a blood test conducted after a 12 to 14-hour fast.

What do calculated LDL levels indicate about health

High levels of LDL-C are associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke, but how much is considered high The American Heart Association recommends that LDL levels be kept below 100 milligrams per deciliter for optimal health, and near-optimal levels range between 100 and 129 milligrams per deciliter. Levels between 130 and 159 milligrams per deciliter are borderline high, between 160 and 189 milligrams per deciliter is high and 190 milligrams per deciliter and higher is very high. In addition to the calculated levels of LDL, you also need to consider the particle size, as smaller particle size is associated with a higher risk of health problems and artery blockage.

Calculated LDL levels are an important part of understanding your risk for heart disease and other illnesses. If you have any questions about your LDL calculation and the implications it has on your lifestyle, talk to your doctor in-depth.

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