Cholesterol Support
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cholesterol measurements

Can someone explain the way cholesterol measurements are recorded now. Until 2 years or so ago you had : Total; HDL; ratio; LDL and triglycerides. Now you have Total; HDL; ratio; and se no HDL. This last measurement puzzles me and what does the 'se no' stand for? I understand it is LDL and trigs combined but am not sure and also no idea what the number should be in relation to the others.

2 years ago a cholesterol test was a fasting test, now it isn't. Is this for convenience?

5 Replies

Serum non HDL.

Nothing's changed but the laboratory doing your tests may have changed their reports and different doctors seem tohave different opinions about fasting for the test.


but what is the se no HDL result telling me? LDL? trigs? What is a healthy number?

When you had separate numbers they were very different.


I think it's LDL and trigs combined. I've pulled out my file and Se No HDL only started appearing in my test results two months ago. It's not in a similar-format report from November 2014 (the report format I get seems to change without any pattern that I've understood) and neither the GP nor the lipid clinic track this figure in their tables of historical values (which I have copies of, so that I have a full picture in my notes and can spot the occasional transcription error).

I'm not sure how serum non-HDL can be accurate if the figures for LDL and Trigs are accurate (sometimes I get both) because they don't add up. I trust the serum non-HDL less because it's given in mmol/L (millimoles per litre, or roughly how many 602 million million millions of molecules there are per litre). I think LDLs and Trigs have very different size molecules (and size varies a bit between Triglycerides anyway), so the conversion is probably fuzzy, lumping lots of rather different stuff in together.

I'd love to know if that's correct, but it goes far beyond my chemistry education and I didn't find an answer in my books or online.

If I've only got a serum non-HDL figure, I'd deduct my last known triglyceride figure and treat that as a rough LDL figure... and next time I'd ask them to report the LDL too!

I'm not kidding - every time now, I check that they're running the same tests as usual, unless the consultant has advised me of changes. I'm sick of needles and having tests repeated because something was missing. Sometimes I get added extras that no-one wanted (last time it was a white cell count and hematocrit???) but I'd rather that than miss stuff out.


Trigliceride levels in the body alter quite quickly so are affected by what you have recently eaten.

My lipid consultant always specifies fasting blood tests, but my GP doesn't mind so much. I suspect it depends on why the tests have been requested and how important to your treatment the different lipid levels are.


Thank you for the reply. Trigs apart, which, as I don't eat any of the known things that cause them to rise, am I right in thinking that 'Non se HDL' is another way of writing 'LDL'?

It's that 'Non se' that has me confused. Do they now just lump trigs and LDL together under that title?

Last time the cholesterol was tested [fasting] the LDL was 3.3 and trigs 0.9, HDL 2.2, ratio 2.71 : total 5.4. Now, non fasting, Se no HDL is 3.8, HDL 2.8*, ratio 2.4 and total 6.6. Numbers simplified for them perhaps but not for me!

My cholesterol was tested as routine at my 6 month hypertension review, along with electrolytes, HbA1c and I think one or two other things - all of which were fine. I'm not diabetic btw.


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