Can High Hdl Account For High Total Cholesterol?


Asked by mizzemm

Can High Hdl Account For High Total Cholesterol?

I am a vegetarian who has always had low cholesterol. I do not eat red meat or high saturated fat foods, fast food, junk food, etc. I am relatively active and in shape. My weight is about 125 at 5'7". However, my last cholesterol reading was 208. The doctor did not give me the break down of HDL to LDL, but in the past I have always had high HDL and low LDL. Is there any possibility that my HDL might be so high that it is causing my overall cholesterol to be high? And if so, should my overall cholesterol still be under 200?


The formula to calculate total cholesterol is: Total cholesterol = HDL + LDL + Triglycerides/5

So, yes, a high HDL can cause your total cholesterol to be elevated.   It's best to base treatment decisions on cholesterol components (HDL, LDL, and triglycerides) versus total cholesterol.   Also, it's even better to go a step further and have a comprehensive lipid profile, so if your doctor has offered to redo the lipid profile that might be wise. This provides information on particle size, which is even more beneficial to determine if you are at risk or not.

A high HDL level is protective, so if that's what accounts for the high total cholesterol level then your high total cholesterol level is not something you will have to worry about. Of course, if the total cholesterol is due to high triglycerides or high LDL, then yes, you'll need to cut back on the cheese at the least, and implement other cholesterol-lowering protocols. In that case, these articles may help:

4 Steps to Lower LDL Cholesterol

Triglycerides: Why They Matter and How to Lower Them

Answered by Lisa Nelson, RD, LN