pick a topic, and i'll relate. i'm a phd researcher! so i have about 30 books of reference in front of me, much to my doc's dismay sometimes.
let's see if i can pick the most important out of the bag about cholesterol sub-components: total cholesterol, yes, important, but studies are starting to show that rather than LDL being the "major villian" that HDL may after all be a greater indicator of probs. because LDL is just carried along by VLDL, i think it's the biggest bad guy. it's a nasty little ship transporting the LDL. apparently ratio is becoming the hot new important number to look at, although particle size is of course crucial as well. i think that we should all know those 2 numbers: VLDL and ratio. however, of seeming equal importance or a strong indicator are the 2 factors called:
Lp(a) - pronounced "el-pee-little A" and C-reactive proteins. you really have to ask for these tests, even at the cardiologists. they keep looking at me askance when i ask what those numbers are. i know that homocystine levels are crucial as well.
so you have to take all those numbers into account when you consider your overall cardiac health, and likelihood of further illness, etc. not just total cholesterol and LDL, the darlings of the moment. they ARE important, but just one factor.
by the way, ALL studies are now showing that exercise markedly increases the HDL in only men! women, only slightly -