Background: Total cholesterol (TC)/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C)/HDL-C ratios are used to predict ischemic heart disease risk. There is, however, no consensus on which of these 2 indices is superior. The objective of the present study was to present evidence that the LDL-C/HDL-C ratio may underestimate ischemic heart disease risk in overweight hyperinsulinemic patients with high triglyceride (TG)-low HDL-C dyslipidemia.
Methods: A total of 2103 middle-aged men in whom measurements of the metabolic profile were performed in the fasting state were recruited from 7 suburbs of the Quebec metropolitan area.
Results: The relationship of LDL-C/HDL-C to TC/HDL-C ratios was examined among men in the Quebec Cardiovascular Study classified into tertiles of fasting TG levels. For any given LDL-C/HDL-C ratio, the TC/HDL-C ratio was higher among men in the top TG tertile (>168 mg/dL [>1.9 mmol/L]) than in men in the first and second TG tertiles. Adjustment of the TC/HDL-C ratio for LDL-C/HDL-C by covariance analysis generated significant differences in average TC/HDL-C ratios among TG tertiles (P<.001). Greater differences in features of the insulin resistance syndrome (insulinemia, apolipoprotein B, and LDL size) were noted across tertiles of the TC/HDL-C ratio than tertiles of the LDL-C/HDL-C ratio.
Conclusion: Variation in the TC/HDL-C ratio may be associated with more substantial alterations in metabolic indices predictive of ischemic heart disease risk and related to the insulin resistance syndrome than variation in the LDL-C/HDL-C ratio.