What should my total cholesterol level be?
Total Blood Cholesterol Levels:
Less than 200 mg/dL = Desirable (lower risk)
200 to 239 mg/dL = Borderline high (higher risk)
240 mg/dL and above = High blood cholesterol (more than twice the risk as desirable level)
What should my HDL and LDL cholesterol levels be?
HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. HDL is “good” cholesterol because it seems to lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. That means that — unlike other cholesterol levels — the higher your HDL cholesterol, the better. You can raise your HDL cholesterol by quitting smoking, losing excess weight and being more physically active.
HDL Cholesterol Levels:
Less than 40 mg/dL for men = Low HDL (higher risk)
Less than 50 mg/dL for women = Low HDL (higher risk)
40 to 59 mg/dL = The higher, the better
60 mg/dL and above = High HDL (lower risk)
LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. This is the main carrier of harmful cholesterol in your blood. A high level of LDL cholesterol means there’s a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
LDL Cholesterol Levels:
Less than 70 mg/dL = Optional goal if you’re at very high risk of a heart attack or death from heart attack.
Less than 100 mg/dL = Optimal for people with heart disease or diabetes
100 to 129 mg/dL = Near or above optimal
130 to 159 mg/dL = Borderline high
160 to 189 mg/dL = High
190 mg/dL and above = Very High
What should my triglyceride level be?
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in your body. They’re also a major energy source. They come from food, and your body also makes them. As people get older, gain excess weight or both, their triglyceride and cholesterol levels tend to rise. Many people who have heart disease or diabetes have high fasting triglyceride levels. Some studies have shown that people with above-normal fasting triglyceride levels (150 mg/dL or higher) have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
Less than 150 mg/dL = Normal
150 to 199 mg/dL = Borderline High
200 to 499 mg/dL = High
500 mg/dL and above = Very High
My Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels
Use the chart below to keep track of your cholesterol and triglyceride levels each time you have a test. Make sure you discuss these numbers with your doctor.
My Goal 1st Visit 2nd Visit 3rd Visit
Total blood cholesterol level
HDL cholesterol level
LDL cholesterol level
How can I learn more?
- Talk to your doctor, nurse or other healthcare professionals. If you have heart disease or have had a stroke, members of your family also may be at higher risk. It’s very important for them to make changes now to lower their risk.
- Call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800-242-8721), or visit heart.org to learn more about heart disease.
- For information on stroke, call 1-888-4-STROKE (1-888-478-7653) or visit us online at StrokeAssociation.org.
Knowledge is power, so Learn and Live!
Do you have questions or comments for your doctor or nurse?
Take a few minutes to write your own questions for the next time you see your healthcare provider. For example:
What about other fats?
How often should I have my levels checked?
©2012, American Heart Association