We often see when we get our lipid profile report, there are many variables in it like Total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, Triglyceride. Even if any one of the variables is out of range and is mentioned in black bold letters, we get panicked. We consult a doctor and more often than not we want to start medicines as soon as possible and bring it in normal range. In fact, we push the doctor to prescribe medicines. NOTHING CAN BE A MORE WRONG APPROACH THAN THIS!

Q1. Suppose my total cholesterol level is 260, normal range is (150-250), what should i do next?

Ans. First based on your report, age, sex and other factors calculate your overall risk for cardiac disease. Always TREAT THE OVERALL RISK for cardiac disease and not just the report.

Q2. How do I calculate the overall risk? 

Ans. It is calculated by the doctor usually. It is a rough estimate. It mainly includes variables like age, sex (males are at higher risk), smoking status, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity.

Suppose you are a 35 year old average built male, non smoker, non diabetic, normal blood pressure. But you have abnormal lipid profile say:

Total cholesterol - 270 LDL - 150 ( range 100-130)

HDL ( good cholesterol)- 30 ( normal > 50)

Here though your cholesterol levels are higher than normal, your overall risk for cardiac disease is LOW. And you DONT REQUIRE ANY MEDICINES. Just focus on diet and lifestyle changes.

In another example if you are a 50 year-old male, smoker, high BP, overweight and your lipid profile report says:

TOTAL cholesterol - 230

LDL - 140

HDL -35

Here you REQUIRE MEDICINES ( along with diet and lifestyle changes) because your overall risk is high. Even though the numbers are far worse in first example compared to second, still the second person requires medicine, but the first one does not

I hope you understand the difference.

So next time when you get your lipid profile test , have an idea of your overall risk, keep your risk factors under control, lead a healthy life. And you will not require medicines. PLEASE JUST DONT TREAT THE NUMBERS.