Cholesterol Tests: Understanding What Your Results Mean (2023)

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By April Dupee, MS, RDN, LDN, April 14, 2023

Cholesterol Tests: Understanding What Your Results Mean (1)

A complete cholesterol test—also called a lipid panel or lipid profile—is a blood test that measures the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood to assess your heart health and estimate your risk of cardiovascular disease. [1]

If cholesterol levels get too high, it can lead to a buildup of fatty deposits—often referred to as plaques—in arteries that, in turn, increase the risk of age-related conditions like heart attacks, stroke, and heart disease. There are typically no signs or symptoms associated with high cholesterol, and the only way to determine your cholesterol levels is through a complete cholesterol test. [1] While there is a genetic component to cholesterol levels, cholesterol is highly influenced by lifestyle choices. Knowing your cholesterol levels, how to interpret the results, and what those results mean in the context of your lifestyle, provide the insights needed to take control of and optimize your health.

Let’s dive into cholesterol testing, the biomarkers this test measures, and how to understand your test results.

What blood biomarkers do cholesterol tests measure?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that the body uses to build cells and make vitamins and hormones. The body internally synthesizes the cholesterol it needs and you can also ingest cholesterol from foods, mainly animal products. Cholesterol travels through the bloodstream in small units called lipoproteins, which are made out of both fat and protein. [2]

Complete cholesterol tests also measures these lipoproteins and the levels of lipids, or fats, in your blood.

A standard lipid panel includes:

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is a potentially harmful type of cholesterol if it builds up in the arteries. This can lead to blood vessel damage, restricted blood flow, and blockages, which increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease. LDL is commonly referred to as “bad cholesterol.”
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as the “good cholesterol,” is a protective form of cholesterol that helps to remove LDL cholesterol from circulation and brings it back to the liver, where it is processed and removed.
  • Triglycerides are a form of fat that circulates in the bloodstream. The combination of high levels of triglycerides with high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • Total cholesterol is a measure of the total amount of cholesterol in your blood. It includes LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and a fraction of triglyceride levels.

Some lipid panels may include additional measurements:

  • Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) is the precursor to LDL and IDL (intermediate-density lipoprotein). It is another type of cholesterol linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease but is not used to determine treatment for elevated cholesterol. [1,2]
  • Apolipoprotein B (ApoB) is a protein found on the surface of harmful lipoproteins including VLDL, LDL, and IDL. ApoBhas emerged as an essential marker for assessing cardiovascular disease risk when compared to LDL, non-HDL, and LDL-p. [3]
  • Lipoprotein (a) is a specific type of LDL with properties that make it more likely to cause blockages and blood clots in the arteries. High levels of lipoprotein (a) may mean a high risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attacks, even if your other cholesterol levels are healthy. Therefore, this additional measurement can provide a more accurate depiction of heart disease risk when included along with a standard lipid panel. [4]

(Video) Cholesterol blood test: What do the numbers mean? Your lipid panel results explained.

What can cholesterol test results tell you about your health and longevity?

Cholesterol test results are a key indicator of heart health and longevity. These results reveal a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease, ultimately impacting overall health and lifespan. Numerous studies draw a clear link between high total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides with increased heart disease and mortality risk. For example, researchers investigated the long-term effects of cholesterol levels by analyzing data collected over 35 years. They found that elevated total cholesterol and LDL levels and low HDL levels increased the risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death more than two-fold when compared to those with optimal levels. [5]

Similarly, another study combined the results of three different cohorts, totaling over 80,000 men, and discovered that high total cholesterol levels increased cardiovascular mortality risk more than two-fold and all-cause mortality by 30-50 percent. On the other hand, men with favorable cholesterol levels had an estimated greater life expectancy of 3.8-8.7 years. [6]

What do normal cholesterol levels mean?

The following are considered normal, healthy ranges for cholesterol and triglycerides:

Total cholesterol125-200 mg/dL
LDL cholesterol<130 mg/dL
HDL cholesterol46-200 mg/dL
Triglycerides0-150 mg/dL

What are optimal cholesterol levels for health?

Normal cholesterol levels are not necessarily optimal. From a clinical perspective, a doctor would consider the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors including blood pressure, smoking history, diabetes, and family history of heart disease. From there, they would determine an optimal target for your cholesterol levels. For example, normal LDL levels are under 100 mg/dL, but for those with diabetes or who already have heart disease, optimal LDL cholesterol levels are considered below 70 mg/dL. [7]

InsideTracker’s personalized health analysis also provides optimal zones for cholesterol biomarkers for those looking to fine-tune their health. These optimal zones account for sex, ethnicity, activity level, and age.

What do high cholesterol levels indicate?

High total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels paired with low HDL are considered risk factors for cardiovascular complications. The following are considered borderline and high lipid panel levels:

Total cholesterol:

  • Borderline high: 200-239 mg/dL
  • High = ≥ 240 mg/dL

LDL cholesterol:

  • Borderline high: 100-159 mg/dL
  • High = ≥ 160 mg/dL


  • Borderline high = 150-199 mg/dL
  • High ≥ 200 mg/dL


  • Borderline high = 90-119 mg/dL
  • High = ≥120 mg/dL

How can you lower high cholesterol?

There are several natural ways to help lower high cholesterol and triglycerides. These include:

  • Reduce intake of high-saturated fat foods (like red and processed meat)
  • Incorporate more sources of unsaturated fats (avocados, olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish)
  • Eat fiber-rich foods (oats, chia seeds, fruits, vegetables, and legumes)
  • Consider targeted supplementation (garlic, alpha-lipoic acid, plant sterols)

It’s important for physicians or healthcare providers to monitor high cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors to determine if medication in addition to lifestyle adjustments is warranted to achieve optimal cholesterol.

(Video) Understand Your CHOLESTEROL PANEL & Metabolic Health Tests - The ULTIMATE Guide | Dr. Rob Lustig

Can HDL levels be too high?

Unlike total cholesterol, LDL, triglycerides, and ApoB, which should be below a certain threshold to support optimal heart health, HDL levels should be above a given threshold as they are cardioprotective.

But on occasion, HDL levels can also be too elevated and are associated with increased risk for both infectious and chronic diseases. Genetics, some medications, and a high saturated fat diet are all factors that can drive HDL levels above optimal. Since the documentation that elevated levels of the good-cholesterol may be detrimental to health is relatively new, few studies have looked at interventions to effectively and healthfully, lower HDL levels. If your HDL is flagged as elevated, it’s best to monitor it with your physician. [8]

HDL cholesterol:

  • High: >200 mg/dL
  • Low = <46 mg/dL

Can cholesterol levels be too low?

Since HDL is cardioprotective, levels of this biomarker can be too low. For other types of cholesterol, it is evident that lower levels can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, but whether it is possible to lower some cholesterol levels too much has been controversial.

HDL cholesterol

Low HDL cholesterol levels—which can result from lifestyle factors such as insufficient physical activity, diets high in saturated fats, excess weight, and smoking—are associated with an increased risk of heart disease and premature death related to both cardiovascular and noncardiovascular causes. [9,10] HDL is considered cardioprotective because these particles remove LDL cholesterol from the blood and fight inflammation and oxidative damage. [10]

However, recent findings from genetic studies and clinical trials of drugs that specifically raise HDL cholesterol have not been shown to improve cardiovascular outcomes. [11] Scientists agree that more research on the relationship between low HDL cholesterol and heart disease is still needed.

Total cholesterol

Total cholesterol levels outside of the normal reference range, including both high and low values, may have negative health effects. In a cohort study of over 25,000 U.S. adults, researchers found that the lowest and highest total cholesterol levels were correlated with an increased risk of death from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all causes. [12]

LDL cholesterol

While initial studies raised concerns that lowering LDL cholesterol too far might interfere with normal cellular functions, the latest research suggests this is not the case. [13] In a recent meta-analysis published in JAMA Cardiology, there was no increased risk of adverse outcomes including muscle aches, liver dysfunction, new-onset diabetes, cancer, and bleeding strokes—even when LDL was lowered to as low as 20 mg/dL. [14]


There currently is no lower limit for triglyceride levels and having low triglycerides is not associated with any health risks. [15] However, extremely low levels (less than 40 mg/dL), may indicate a medical condition or disease, such as malnutrition or hyperthyroidism.

Who should get a cholesterol test?

All adults should get their cholesterol levels checked regularly, especially those who are undergoing treatment for high cholesterol or who have a risk factor for high cholesterol. [7]

Risk factors for high cholesterol include: [7]

  • Family history of high cholesterol or heart disease
  • History of heart attack or stroke
  • Age > 65
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Cigarette use
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Elevated BMI
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Dietary patterns high in saturated fat and low in soluble fiber

How often should you get your cholesterol levels checked?

Current guidelines recommend children, adolescents, and young adults should have their cholesterol levels checked once between the ages of 9 and 11 and again between 17, and recommend most adults get their levels checked as follows [7]

(Video) LDL Cholesterol level: Your lab results explained


  • Ages 21-45: Every 4-6 years
  • Ages 45-65: Every 1-2 years
  • Ages 65+: Annually


  • Ages 21-45: Every 4-6 years
  • Ages 55-65: Every 1-2 years
  • Ages 65+: Annually

However, it takes about three months to significantly influence blood cholesterol levels through diet and lifestyle, so only testing once every handful of years doesn’t allow you to track how your lifestyle or the healthy changes you make are impacting your blood cholesterol. To truly optimize your health, InsideTracker scientists encourage routine blood testing every three to six months to proactively monitor your blood cholesterol and see the real-time changes in your lifestyle on objective indicators of health.

Do you need to fast before a cholesterol blood test?

It is typically recommended to fast before a cholesterol test, as triglyceride levels may remain elevated for several hours after eating, which can also impact LDL levels if it is calculated using the triglyceride level. [15]

Avoid eating or drinking (except for water or black coffee) for the 12 hours leading to your blood test.

Key takeaways

A cholesterol test is a blood test that measures the level of fats in your blood. High total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides and low HDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart disease. Regular cholesterol testing is vital for understanding your cardiovascular disease risk while serving as an important metric of overall health and longevity.

Many people’s medical insurance does cover yearly cholesterol testing, but not all doctors order yearly bloodwork for seemingly healthy adults. At preventative appointments always ask what bloodwork is covered by your insurance, and know that there are options to get bloodwork done regularly without insurance at labs or at home through solutions like InsideTracker.










(Video) How to Read & Understand Your Cholesterol Numbers








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How do I read my cholesterol test results? ›

Your HDL cholesterol levels should be above 40 mg/dL. This type of fat is actually good for you because it lowers your risk of heart disease. The higher the number, the lower your risk.
What do my test results mean?
  1. Normal: Less than 200 mg/dL.
  2. Borderline high: 200 to 239 mg/dL.
  3. High: At or above 240 mg/dL.

What should your bad cholesterol read? ›

Check what your cholesterol levels should be
ResultHealthy level (mmol/L)
Total cholesterol5 or below
Total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio5 or below
HDL (good cholesterol)1 or above for men or 1.2 or above for women
Non-HDL (bad cholesterol)4 or below

What is the explanation of cholesterol tests? ›

A cholesterol test is a blood test that measures the amount of cholesterol and certain fats in your blood. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that's found in your blood and every cell of your body. You need some cholesterol to keep your cells and organs healthy.

What is a good HDL to LDL ratio? ›

Most healthcare providers want the ratio to be below 5:1. A ratio below 3.5:1 is considered very good.

What is a good triglyceride level? ›

For good health, your triglyceride level should be less than 150 mg/dL. Borderline high levels are 150 to 199 mg/dL. High is 200 to 499 mg/dL. Very high is 500 mg/dL and greater.

Is 159 cholesterol good? ›

Doctors may not express concern about levels of 100–129 mg/dl for people with no health issues, but they may suggest treatment at this stage for people with heart disease or its risk factors. If a person's reading is 130–159 mg/dl, it is borderline high, while readings of 160–189 mg/dl are high.

What is the most important cholesterol number to look at? ›

Your HDL (“good” cholesterol) is the one number you want to be high (ideally above 60). Your LDL (“bad” cholesterol) should be below 100. Your total should be below 200. Talk with your provider about what your results mean for you and how to manage your cholesterol.

What reduces cholesterol quickly? ›

  • Eat heart-healthy foods. A few changes in your diet can reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health: ...
  • Exercise on most days of the week and increase your physical activity. Exercise can improve cholesterol. ...
  • Quit smoking. ...
  • Lose weight. ...
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation.

What is stroke level cholesterol? ›

Levels of LDL cholesterol higher than 130 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) are linked to an increased risk for ischemic stroke.

What is normal cholesterol level by age? ›

For most healthy adults (19 and older), your total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL, your LDL less than 100 mg/dL, and your HDL greater than 40 mg/dL. For children (19 and younger), total cholesterol should be less than 170 mg/dL, LDL less than 110 mg/dL, and HDL greater than 45 mg/dL.

Does cholesterol test show blocked arteries? ›

A cholesterol test can help determine your risk of the buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) in your arteries that can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries throughout your body (atherosclerosis).

Can one meal affect a cholesterol test? ›

It can take up to 70 hours for a meal to be completely digested. But it is unlikely that foods eaten more than 12 hours before the test will have a significant effect on the results of a cholesterol test, Go Ask Alice explains.

What is more important LDL HDL or triglycerides? ›

Remember the triglyceride to HDL ratio is the stronger predictor of heart disease, much more so than “just” high cholesterol and LDL/HDL ratios. It is important to understand there are other predictors and not just “high” cholesterol that indicate a potential problem.

Is LDL of 79 good? ›

Here's a breakdown of LDL cholesterol levels and health: Less than 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) – if you're at very high risk for a heart attack or had a heart attack. Less than 100 mg/dL – normal/optimal. 100 to 129 mg/dL – near or above the optimal.

What is more important cholesterol level or ratio? ›

For predicting your risk of heart disease, many doctors now believe that determining your non-HDL cholesterol level may be more useful than calculating your cholesterol ratio.

What is a bad triglyceride number? ›

Normal — Less than 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or less than 1.7 millimoles per liter (mmol/L) Borderline high — 150 to 199 mg/dL (1.8 to 2.2 mmol/L) High — 200 to 499 mg/dL (2.3 to 5.6 mmol/L) Very high — 500 mg/dL or above (5.7 mmol/L or above)

What is an unsafe triglyceride level? ›

A healthy number for triglycerides is below 150 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Your healthcare provider classifies high triglyceride levels as: Mild: 150-199 mg/dL. Moderate: 200-499 mg/dL. Severe: Greater than 500 mg/dL.

What level should a woman's cholesterol be? ›

125 to 200mg/dL

How bad is 180 cholesterol? ›

A level of 180 mg/dL is considered high. Although cholesterol serves several important functions, high LDL cholesterol puts you at greater risk for heart disease. While high cholesterol is typically related to diet and lifestyle factors, familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) can also cause high cholesterol.

How bad is 170 cholesterol? ›

What are normal cholesterol levels? We say that a total cholesterol less than 170 is good. Anything between 170 and 199 is considered borderline and anything more than 200 is considered high. The total cholesterol is the HDL, LDL and a fraction of your triglycerides – another type of fat found in your blood.

What is considered high cholesterol for seniors? ›

Generally speaking, it's recommended that an individual's total cholesterol levels (including HDL, LDL and triglycerides) remain lower than 200 mg/dL. Cholesterol levels of 200-239 mg/dL are considered borderline high, while levels of 240 mg/dL and above are considered high risk.

What should I eat the night before a cholesterol test? ›

What can a person eat the night before? If a healthcare professional has asked a person to fast, they should not consume anything other than water the night before a cholesterol test. Fasting means that a person can only consume water for the hours before their test.

Do cholesterol numbers really matter? ›

Cholesterol is a natural component in everyone's blood, and supports functions within the body. It's only when bad cholesterol causes plaque to build up in your arteries that it's considered a major risk factor for heart attack, heart disease and stroke.

Is fatigue symptoms of high cholesterol? ›

Can High Cholesterol Make Me Tired? No, high cholesterol doesn't usually cause fatigue, but it can lead to heart diseases, such as coronary artery disease, that do. With this heart condition, excess LDL builds up as plaque in your heart's small arteries, causing them to narrow and stiffen.

Does drinking water lower cholesterol? ›

Eating healthy, regular exercise and drinking plenty of water will help to bring down cholesterol levels within 2-3 weeks.

What foods flush cholesterol? ›

Oatmeal, oat bran and high-fiber foods

Soluble fiber is also found in such foods as kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears. Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your LDL cholesterol.

Does coffee raise cholesterol? ›

While coffee does not contain cholesterol, it can affect cholesterol levels. The diterpenes in coffee suppress the body's production of substances involved in cholesterol breakdown, causing cholesterol to increase. Specifically, coffee diterpenes may cause an increase in total cholesterol and LDL levels.

Can stress cause high cholesterol? ›

Dr. Lisa Matzer: Stress is known to increase cholesterol levels and in particular the bad LDL cholesterol. The amount of stress in your life isn't as important as how you deal with it. The more anger and hostility that stress produces in you, the higher (and worse) your LDL and triglyceride levels tend to be.

What are the signs of high cholesterol on face? ›

If you see yellowish-orange growths on your skin, you may have deposits of cholesterol under your skin. These painless deposits can appear in many areas, including the corners of your eyes, lines on your palms, or the backs of your lower legs. If you notice these growths on any area of your skin, see your doctor.

Is 300 total cholesterol high? ›

An ideal total cholesterol level ranges from 140 to 200mg/dl. When it reaches 300, the risk of having a heart attack more than doubles.

What should a 70 year old cholesterol be? ›

After having their cholesterol tested, seniors should be given a number between 190 and 260. Healthy seniors should keep their total cholesterol below 200 and their LDL cholesterol around 100. If your elderly loved one's LDL cholesterol level is above 160, he or she must start making sweeping lifestyle changes.

What is the average cholesterol for a 60 year old? ›

Cholesterol Levels for Seniors
Total cholesterol levelsbelow 200 mg/dl
LDL cholesterol levelbelow 100 mg/dl
HDL cholesterol levelabove 40 mg/dl for men or 50 mg/dl for women
Jan 6, 2022

What vitamin removes plaque from arteries? ›

Optimal Vitamin K2 intake is crucial to avoid the calcium plaque buildup of atherosclerosis, thus keeping the risk and rate of calcification as low as possible. Matrix GLA protein (MGP)—found in the tissues of the heart, kidneys, and lungs—plays a dominant role in vascular calcium metabolism.

What are the warning signs of clogged arteries? ›

Dizziness or weakness. Heart palpitations, or sensations of your heart racing or fluttering. Nausea or sweating. Shortness of breath.
Your doctor may also use tests that look for signs of atherosclerosis, such as:
  • A weak or absent pulse.
  • A whooshing sound (bruit) in your artery.
  • Low blood pressure in one of your arms or legs.

What is the first noticeable symptom of cholesterol clogging your arteries? ›

High cholesterol early symptom: Spasms or leg cramps could be the first noticeable sign of clogged arteries.

Does vitamin D raise cholesterol? ›

A study of the short-term effects of taking vitamin D supplements reported that doing so increased levels of LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol.

What raises cholesterol the most? ›

Eating a lot of foods high in saturated fats raises “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Saturated fats are found in fatty cuts of meat and dairy products. No more than 10% of your daily calories should come from saturated fats. Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol, particularly in women, and raises LDL cholesterol.

How quickly does oatmeal lower cholesterol? ›

How quickly does oatmeal lower cholesterol? Current evidence suggests daily oatmeal intake can lower cholesterol in five to six weeks. [10] However, some studies report significant declines in total and LDL cholesterol in as short as four weeks.

Which is worse cholesterol or triglycerides? ›

When levels are too high, fatty deposits are more likely to build up in the arteries, which raises the risk of heart problems. In fact, high triglycerides are as dangerous as bad cholesterol when it comes to this risk.

Why is my LDL high but triglycerides normal? ›

When you have low triglyceride levels but high LDL levels, it could indicate that you have a diet filled with healthy fats. Healthy fats will not only cause an increase in good cholesterol (HDL) but can also change the type of the LDL particles in the blood.

Which is worse to have high LDL or HDL? ›

As a general rule, HDL is considered “good” cholesterol, while LDL is considered “bad.” This is because HDL carries cholesterol to your liver, where it can be removed from your bloodstream before it builds up in your arteries.

How to get LDL below 100? ›

Lowering Your Total and LDL Cholesterol Levels
  1. Lose weight if you are overweight.
  2. Exercise regularly. ...
  3. Eat fewer high-fat foods, like butter, cheese, meat, and some vegetable fats (palm oil and cocoa butter). ...
  4. Eat more high-fiber foods, like vegetables, fruits, grains, and whole-grain breads, cereals, and pasta.
Jan 15, 2002

Can lack of sleep cause high cholesterol? ›

A number of studies have linked short-term sleep deprivation with several well-known risk factors for heart disease, including higher cholesterol levels, higher triglyceride levels, and higher blood pressure.

What is an unsafe LDL level? ›

Most adults should keep their LDL below 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). If you have a history of atherosclerosis, your LDL should be below 70 mg/dL. What is a bad level for LDL? An LDL level above 100 mg/dL raises your risk of cardiovascular disease.

What can I take instead of statins to lower cholesterol? ›

7 cholesterol-lowering alternatives to statins
  • Fibrates. Mostly used for lowering triglyceride levels in patients whose levels are very high and could cause pancreatitis. ...
  • Plant stanols and sterols. ...
  • Cholestyramine and other bile acid-binding resins. ...
  • Niacin. ...
  • Policosanol. ...
  • Red yeast rice extract (RYRE) ...
  • Natural products.

Does cholesterol increase with age? ›

Age Related Changes to Cholesterol. Previous research indicates that total cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol levels increase with age among young and middle age adults and decline with age later in life [19,20,21,22,23,24].

What is the normal range for HDL and LDL? ›

The following levels are considered to be "good" in healthy people: Total cholesterol: Levels below 200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L) LDL cholesterol: Levels below 130 mg/dL (3.4 mmol/L) HDL cholesterol: Levels above 40 mg/dL (1 mmol/L) in men and above 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) in women.

How do you read HDL and LDL results? ›

Your cholesterol numbers show how much cholesterol is circulating in your blood. Your HDL (“good” cholesterol) is the one number you want to be high (ideally above 60). Your LDL (“bad” cholesterol) should be below 100. Your total should be below 200.

Where should my cholesterol numbers be? ›

A total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL (5.17 mmol/L) is normal. A total cholesterol level of 200 to 239 mg/dL (5.17 to 6.18 mmol/L) is borderline high. A total cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL (6.21 mmol/L) or greater is high. The total cholesterol level can be measured any time of day.

What is the normal range for LDL? ›

The normal range of LDL-C is 50 to 100 mg/dL. Depending on all your risk factors, in general: Less than 100 is optimal. 100 to 129 mg/dL is near or just above optimal.

Is 180 cholesterol good? ›

A total cholesterol of 180 to 200 mg/dL (10 to 11.1 mmol/l) or less is considered best. You may not need more cholesterol tests if your cholesterol is in this normal range.

What is a good LDL level for a woman? ›

Women age 20 or older:
Type of CholesterolHealthy Level
Total Cholesterol125 to 200mg/dL
Non-HDLLess than 130mg/dL
LDLLess than 100mg/dL
HDL50mg/dL or higher
Oct 2, 2020

Should your HDL be higher than LDL? ›

With LDL cholesterol, lower is better. HDL cholesterol helps remove LDL cholesterol from the blood and transports it to the liver for processing and elimination. A higher HDL number is desirable because it usually signals a lower risk of heart disease.

What should triglycerides to HDL ratio be? ›

What should your triglycerides to HDL cholesterol ratio be? Ideally, you want no more than a 2:1 ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol. So, if your triglycerides are 100 mg/dl, your HDL cholesterol should be 50 mg/dl.

What is most important in cholesterol numbers? ›

LDL cholesterol.

The LDL measurement is usually considered the most important for assessing risk and deciding on treatment. The definition of a healthy level keeps on getting lower.

What is a healthy LDL level by age? ›

For most healthy adults (19 and older), your total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL, your LDL less than 100 mg/dL, and your HDL greater than 40 mg/dL. For children (19 and younger), total cholesterol should be less than 170 mg/dL, LDL less than 110 mg/dL, and HDL greater than 45 mg/dL.

Is 143 LDL cholesterol high? ›

Less than 100 mg/dL – normal/optimal. 100 to 129 mg/dL – near or above the optimal. 130 to 159 mg/dL – borderline high. 160 to 189 mg/dL – high.

How can I lower my LDL cholesterol in 30 days? ›

5 Easy Steps to Reduce Cholesterol in 30 Days
  1. Switch to a Mediterranean Diet. ...
  2. Increase Exercise. ...
  3. Supplement Fiber. ...
  4. Lose Weight. ...
  5. Drink Alcohol in Moderation.

Are eggs bad for cholesterol? ›

Chicken eggs are an affordable source of protein and other nutrients. They're also naturally high in cholesterol. But the cholesterol in eggs doesn't seem to raise cholesterol levels the way some other foods, such as those high in trans fats and saturated fats, do.

Is LDL 114 bad? ›

A LDL level of 114 mg/dL is considered elevated. Although cholesterol serves several important functions, elevated LDL cholesterol may put you at greater risk for heart disease. Elevated LDL cholesterol doesn't have symptoms, which is why it's important to know your levels.


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