What is cholesterol ratio?

What is cholesterol ratio? What is cholesterol ratio?

Next to your total cholesterol level, cholesterol ratio is another measurement that can tell you more about whether you may need to take steps towards a healthier diet and lifestyle.

Explained: what is cholesterol and cholesterol ratio

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in all cells, and has an important part to play in various vital processes in the body. High blood cholesterol is often linked with the development of heart disease, and that’s is one of the reasons why it’s a good idea to check your cholesterol on a regular basis. There are two main types of cholesterol:

  • LDL cholesterol – the bad cholesterol.
  • HDL cholesterol – the good cholesterol.

And, what about the cholesterol ratio? If you’ve just received your cholesterol test results, you might have noticed something written as TC:HDL ratio. This is your cholesterol ratio, a number that reveals the amount of ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL) in your total cholesterol. Knowing your cholesterol ratio is a good way to find out whether you may need to make changes into your diet and lifestyle.

How do you calculate cholesterol ratio?

A standard cholesterol test result will present the total cholesterol, the HDL and the LDL cholesterol. If the TC:HDL ratio is not listed, you can ask simply your GP for a break-down of the numbers. To calculate cholesterol ratio, your healthcare professional will divide total cholesterol by HDL-cholesterol level.

What is a good cholesterol ratio?

NHS recommends that a healthy cholesterol ratio sits below 4-to-1.

Total cholesterol levels should be:

  • 5mmol/L or less for healthy adults
  • 4mmol/L or less for those at high risk

Of this LDL, or bad cholesterol, should be:

  • 3mmol/L or less for healthy adults
  • 2mmol/L or less for those at high risk

And HDL should be:

  • 1 mmol/L or above

Bad cholesterol ratio: what to do?

If your cholesterol ratio is not at the recommended level by the NHS (4-to-1), talk to your GP to work out your next steps. You may be required to take steps to alter your diet and lifestyle – you can find out more about how to lower cholesterol, and how our range of products can help with that, on this site. If you want more advice, including recipes and cholesterol lowering diet plans, download our free cholesterol lowering Starter Kit here.

Need to get your cholesterol tested?

Cholesterol levels aren’t fixed – they vary daily – and can depend on a number of factors, like diet and lifestyle choices. It’s a good idea to get your cholesterol regularly tested. Here you can find a comprehensive infographic with everything you need to know about cholesterol testing, from information on fasting and how to book a test to understanding your results.


This information has been included in good faith, but is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as a guarantee. The nutritional facts and statements on this site are designed for educational and resource purpose sonly, not being substitutes for professional advice. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always check with your GP or healthcare professional.