It has been my experience that most doctors are slaves to the pharmaceutical companies and don’t do much thinking for themselves. That is why they still believe in the diet-heart hypothesis and will steer you in the wrong direction when reading your lipid results. Here is what the numbers really mean:
Total Cholesterol – Don’t be fooled here. Total cholesterol is not a good predictor of much unless you are setting a low score. In which case, you will likely suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, cancer, or a stroke as you get older.
HDL – Often referred to as “good” cholesterol, the higher the better. 60-80 mg/dL is a good place to be, but if you work hard and get a score above 100 mg/dL, I’ll give you a high-five!
LDL – Often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, this guy gets a bad rap. The size of the LDL particles is much more important than the generic number most doctors will give you. That’s right, size does matter. Large and fluffy are nothing to worry about, while small and dense just might kill you.
Triglycerides – The lower the better here. The amount of triglycerides in your blood goes hand-in-hand with LDL particle size and insulin resistance. Because of this, your triglyceride level can generally be used as an indicator of your LDL particle size as well as your level of insulin resistance. Lower tri’s equals large, fluffy LDL particles and less insulin resistance. Higher tri’s equals small, dense LDL particles and a higher level of insulin resistance. A score less than 60 mg/dL is ideal.