Author(s): Castelli WP, Abbott RD, McNamara PM
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Abstract The relationships of total cholesterol and the proportion of cholesterol in individual lipoprotein classes to coronary heart disease are complex. To help simplify these relationships, cholesterol values are often combined into one summary estimate to form a single risk factor with a relationship to disease that is more easily described. Although summary estimates result in convenient expressions relating cholesterols to coronary heart disease, there is the potential for sacrificing information by ignoring the joint configuration of cholesterols that make up these estimates. We investigated the extent of this possibility for the ratio of total cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and the ratio of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The findings suggest that the summary estimates are useful expressions for combining cholesterol information and are strong predictors of coronary heart disease. Clinicians who choose to use a summary estimate for screening purposes should recognize that a single ratio estimate is not always as informative as the joint configuration of the cholesterols that make up the estimate. This possibility is most clearly exhibited for the ratio of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and it may become more apparent in future studies as the capabilities of exploring lipoprotein cholesterol relationships improve.
This article was published in Circulation
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism