What do your cholesterol numbers mean?
Everyone age 20 and older should have their cholesterol measured at least once every 5 years. It is best to have a blood test called a "lipoprotein profile" to find out your cholesterol numbers. This blood test is done after a 9 to 12 hour fast and gives information about your:
If it is not possible to get a lipoprotein profile done, knowing your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol can give you a general idea about your cholesterol levels. If your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or more or if your HDL is less than 40 mg/dL, you will need to have a lipoprotein profile done. See how your cholesterol numbers compare to the tables below.
|Total Cholesterol Level||Category|
|Less than 200 mg/dL||Desirable|
|200 - 239 mg/dL||Borderline High|
|240 mg/dL and above||High|
|LDL Cholesterol Level||LDL Cholesterol Category|
|Less than 100 mg/dL||Optimal|
|100 - 129 mg/dL||Near optimal/above optimal|
|130 - 159 mg/dL||Borderline High|
|160 - 189 mg/dL||High|
|190 mg/dL and above||Very high|
|Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood.|
HDL (good) cholesterol protects against heart disease, so for HDL, higher numbers are better. A level less than 40 mg/dL is low and is considered a major risk factor because it increases your risk for developing heart disease. HDL levels of 60 mg/dL or more help to lower your risk for heart disease.
Triglycerides can also raise heart disease risk. Levels that are borderline high (150 - 199 mg/dL) or high (200 mg/dL or more) may need treatment in some people.