Monday, October 20, 2014
Saturday, August 23, 2008 Cheryl, Community Member, asks

Q: how to lower ONLY total cholesterol number?

All of my other numbers are good, except total cholesterol number.

Female, age 53 Mother died of myocardioinfarction at age 58.

Total cholesterol=257





Cardiac risk=3


Doctor says only that genetics is explanation. How do I lower only total cholesterol?

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Answers (2)
8/23/08 4:39pm

Hi Cheryl,


Your total cholesterol is calculated from HDL, LDL, and VLDL.


Total Cholesterol = 89 (HDL) + 149 (LDL) + 19 (LDL) = 257


VLDL is an estimate from your total triglycerides.


VLDL = 93 (Triglycerides) divided by 5 = 18.6


I'm giving you this info so you can see that the only way to lower total cholesterol is by adjusting the other cholesterol components.


Your LDL is slightly elevated.  Ideally it should be less than 130 mg/dL.  I'll give you tips to lower LDL in just a moment.  Your HDL is excellent.  With such a high HDL it may be very difficult to get total cholesterol below 200.  This is not something to be concerned about if your LDL is reduced to within the ideal range.  Your triglycerides/VLDL are also excellent - great job!


Tips to lower LDL:


1. Look at your saturated fat and trans fat intake and see where you can make cuts.   Your total fat intake for the day should be limited to 30% of your daily calories.  Of this 30%, only 10% should be from saturated fat and ideally zero from trans fats.  To attain these levels you'll need to select healthy choices when dining out, read food labels, select healthy fats when cooking, select lean cuts of meat, etc.


2. High fiber diet plays a role in lowering LDL cholesterol (especially soluble fiber).  Be sure to select whole grain products, fruits, and vegetables daily.


3. Add omega 3 fatty acids to your daily intake.  Here are three articles that explain fatty acids and how they work to lower cholesterol.


Get a Grip on Fatty Acids

Top 5 Omega 3 Sources to Lower Cholesterol

Omega 3's - How much to lower cholesterol?


4. If you're overweight, losing as little as 10% body weight can reduce your total cholesterol.  You can check your BMI here


I hope one of the steps above will help you achieve your goal.  Overall, your lab results are in no way terrible!


All the best,

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

Heart Health and Weight Loss Tips

net, Community Member
5/20/11 7:27pm

i eat well. eat nuts, fresh veg, fruit etc but have very high cholesterol ! 252. my HDL is 69. am 55 years old.  am aware of everything i eat. my downfall is cheese. i eat about 200 grams per week. i drink beer and wine but never drink strong alchohol. i used to smoke but now only on odd occasions. am the only one in my family with high choleste

rol and yet they are all big meat eaters. they all eat animal fat. i don't. Why am I the only one with high cholesterol?

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By Cheryl, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/14/12, First Published: 08/23/08