What do the Cholesterol Numbers mean?

Written by
Published in November 2004

( To have a complete picture of your blood cholesterol levels, your doctor likely will order a complete blood cholesterol profile test:

If you are 20 or older, you should check your cholesterol level at least once every 5 years as a regular check-up. It's desirable to have your cholesterol numbers within the desirable range. Levels in between are considered borderline high.

Cholesterol Numbers / levels - Desirable
Total Cholesterol
LDL Cholesterol
HDL Cholesterol
< 200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L)
< 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L)
> 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L)
< 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L)
Cholesterol Numbers / levels - High
Total Cholesterol
LDL Cholesterol
HDL Cholesterol
> 240 mg/dL (6.2 mmol/L)
> 160 mg/dL (4.1 mmol/L)
< 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L)
> 200 mg/dL (2.3 mmol/L)

Source: National Cholesterol Education Program NCEP

Message: To treat high blood cholesterol, the National Cholesterol Education Program NCEP now recommends the TLC diet. In any case, your doctor may prescribe medications immediately if the LDL cholesterol level is over 160 mg/dL or 4.1 mmol/L.

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