The most popular post on this (largely dormant) blog is High Cholesterol – Low Triglycerides. A lot of people are trying to make sense out of their lipid scores and are looking for help.
The new gospel is that the most important thing to understand is what your cholesterol particle count is. If you know that, the rest of your lipid profile is almost irrelevant. Problem is, finding that out your particle count requires expensive NMR testing.
It is possible, however, to use the Triglyceride/HDL ratio as a rough estimate of particle count. If the ratio is >3 you are at high risk for lipid problems and should go for more testing. If the ratio is low, you can probably breath a sigh of relief (always with the caveat: there are some exceptions).
In this video, the clinician touches on this topic using a case study:
Yes, that is Gary Taubes sitting on the right.
Another great video on the subject can be found here: “Advanced Lipid Testing” Comes Alive . Registration is free.
The latter video does explain that, in rare cases, the high HDL, low triglyceride profile does not mean you are out of the woods. So the “poor man’s estimate” of risk is not foolproof. The only real way to know your risk is to find out your cholesterol particle count through an NMR profile.
Want to find out more? If you are prepared to do the heavy lifting on understanding cholesterol, then check out The Straight dope on cholesterol which is a 7 part expose on the facts and myths surrounding this highly misunderstood substance.