Earlier this year I got my first blood test done. The results were interesting to see because I eat a tremendously high amount of saturated fat and cholesterol, and have for over 4 years now.
Below is some commentary from a user on Reddit (I don’t know him).
In my lay opinion his lipids are brilliant.
- Total: 256
- HDL: 78
- LDL: 164
- Trigs: 72
- VLDL: 14
The first thing to note is that both the LDL and the VLDL are calculated, not measured. The numbers for LDL are too close to the Friedewald formula to have been measured:
LDL = Total – HDL – Trigs/5 = 256 – 78 – 14.4 = 163.6
VLDL, when not measured is calculated as trigs/5 = 14.4
So the LDL is not necessarily high, just calculated high. There are several papers indicating that can be inaccurate when HDL is high and trigs are low. This is one: The impact of low serum triglyceride on LDL-cholesterol estimation. Using a calculator based on their information reduces that calculated LDL to 144.
The next thing to notice is that his HDL is excellent, significantly higher than the usual recommended threshold of 40 for males. That is a good thing; there are several recent papers showing that low HDL is a much more reliable indicator of future cardiac problems than high LDL. That also reduces the concern he may have felt about the higher Total than the doctors like; a significant part of the excess is from the good HDL.
Finally, his triglycerides are darn near perfect. He doesn’t want them too low, as a modest level of trigs is essential for health, but excessive trigs are another warning sign for atherosclerosis. But they are also an indicator of two other things. First, they are used to calculate VLDL for a reason; they are an indicator of how much of the LDL particles are “fluffy” – or useful and benign, and how much is dense and dangerous. For diabetics there is a paper indicating that the ratio of trigs to HDL is another indicator: Ratio of Triglycerides to HDL Cholesterol Is an Indicator of LDL Particle Size in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes and Normal HDL Cholesterol Levels
That paper suggest the safe threshold for that ratio is 1.3 when measured in mmol/l; that becomes 3.0 when mg/dl is used. His ratio is excellent at 0.92.
In other words, his HDL is great, so are his trigs, and his LDL, regardless of the absolute real level, is very low in dangerous particles and very high in useful particles.
These comments echo my own thoughts. That my test results demonstrate … what perfectly healthy cholesterol levels should and do look like.
I have no doubt these numbers could vary if I was tested repeatedly, and that these numbers will vary from person to person, but there they are.
Sky-high in the good stuff, rock-bottom in the bad stuff, everything where it should be.
As Skyler Tanner says, common is not normal. Indeed, but maybe these numbers will keep me alive to see the day when what is common, is actually normal and healthy.