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Is my cholesterol test result reliable?

Q: I am a 42 years old man and got my blood sugar and cholesterol tested twice. In the first test my total cholesterol (TC) was 244 mg/dl, triglycerides (TRG) – 123 mg/dl, HDL – 61 mg/dl, LDL - 158.4 mg/dl, TC/HDL ratio - 4, VLDL cholesterol - 24.6 mg/dl and glucose level - 109 mg/dl. The doctor told me that no medicine is needed and he asked me to follow only some diet to control both TC and blood sugar level. After a month I went to another doctor and he asked me for another test. The test showed TC – 211 mg/dl, TRG – 215 mg/dl, HDL – 47 mg/dl, LDL - 175 mg/dl, VLDL – 43 mg/dl, TC/HDL ratio - 4.4 mg/dl, LDL/HDL ratio - 3.7 mg/dl. The doctor prescribed Tonalt 10 mg once daily for a month. After one month I again got a quick test done. The results showed TC – 119 mg/dl, HDL – 50 mg/dl, TRG – 85 mg/dl, LDL – 52 mg/dl, non-LDL – 69 mg/dl, TC/HDL ratio - 2.4 mg/dl and glucose – 90 mg. Is it possible to lower down cholesterol in this way? Is there any minimum level of cholesterol which is needed for the body? Is there any problem because of this low level of cholesterol? Is it good to maintain this level?

A:Quick tests for cholesterol/TG etc are not reliable and you should get lab test done. It is highly unlikely that change in your lipid profile is due to one-month medications. In clinical practice we advise lipid profile after three months of medications only. There are no lower limits of cholesterol but lower levels can be harmful especially to brain and lipid-lowering medications can adversely affect muscles and liver. Targets for LDL and HDL cholesterol are < 100 mg/dl and > 40 mg/dl respectively. In general, levels of T-Cholesterol and LDL < 100 mg/dl and 45 mg/dl are not good for health.

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