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What are normal cholesterol levels?

Blood tests are required to measure total cholesterol and lipoproteins. For a complete lipoprotein analysis, the patient should be fasting for at least 12 hours.

The National Cholesterol Education Program endorsed by the American Heart Association suggests the following risk guidelines:

Cholesterol Risk Guidelines
Total Cholesterol (mg/dL)
< 200 Desireable
200 to 239 Borderline high
> 240 High
HDL (mg/dL)
< 40 Low
> 60 High
LDL (mg/dL)
< 100 Optimal
100 to 129 Near Optimal
130 to 159 Borderline high
160 to 189 Near high
> 190 High

The goal is to have patients modify lifestyle and diet to maintain cholesterol levels within the normal range. It is important to remember that HDL may protect a patient from heart disease and it may be a treatment goal to raise a too low level of HDL.

Return to Cholesterol (Lowering Your Cholesterol)

See what others are saying

Comment from: JIM, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 24

My doctor says my cholesterol is 231 and I need to change my diet and exercise, although I do this already.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: V S KUMAR, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: November 12

My cholesterol level is 96 mg, LDL cholesterol 35 mg, triglycerides 94 mg, HDL cholesterol 42mg, and VLDL cholesterol 19 mg.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: Pinky, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: August 18

MY HDL cholesterol is always over 116 to 120. MY LDL is now (taking Crestor 10 mg) 103 but together my doctor thinks it's too high, 246! Sounds good to me.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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