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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is a high cholesterol category?

    My mother recently told me that her doctor graded her as having category 3 cholesterol. I have never heard of this. What does this mean? Are there different types of high cholesterol?
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  • 3

    Thanks

    Nicole Senior

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    I'm an Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist, consultant, author, speaker and food and health enthusiast. I love talking and writing about food and health.(please note, … View Profile

    Category 3 is classified as moderate risk and this category is derived from the use of an absolute risk calculator. These numbered categories are used more in the USA rather than in Australia, however they are based on the same thing:


    If You HaveYou Are in Category
    Heart disease, diabetes, or risk score more than 20%I. High Risk
    2 or more risk factors and risk score 10-20%II. Next Highest Risk
    2 or more risk factors and risk score less than 10%III. Moderate Risk
    0 or 1 risk factorIV. Low-to-Moderate Risk


    FROM: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/chol/wyntk.htm

    This calculator is based on cholesterol levels in combination with other risk factors such as blood pressure, age, sex and smoking status. An absolute risk score is an estimate of the risk of having a heart attack in the next 10 years (the percentages in the above table relate to this). You can read more (and calculate your own risk) here http://www.cvdcheck.org.au/

    Interestingly, this calculator is based on data from a very large and long term study of the population of Framingham, USA, and is sometimes referred to as the Framingham risk score.

    The higher the risk, the more likely a doctor is to prescribe medication to control cholesterol and blood pressure but diet and lifestyle are still critically important no matter what.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr Jason Kaplan

    Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

    Dr. Jason Kaplan is a specialist adult cardiologist and physician. Dr. Kaplan studied Medicine at UNSW and graduated with Honours in 1999 then completed his … View Profile

    All the major cardiac societies and heart foundations publish categories for high cholesterol. A usual cholesterol report contains measurements of different types of cholesterol. Though the most common cholesterol that is reported is total cholesterol, in Australia and the United States we have different units of measurements for cholesterol. In Australia we use the unit called millimole per liter. In Australia, a total cholesterol level greater than 6.2 millimoles per liter is considered high. What is very important in the interpretation of cholesterol levels is looking at what someone’s total cardiovascular risk is, and whether they have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease; or if they’ve got preexisting heart disease or arteriosclerosis.

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