I’ve completed some lab tests, now what do all the numbers mean?

High blood cholesterol signals a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. It is important to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly and discuss them with your health care provider.

What should my total cholesterol level be?

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

What should my HDL (good) cholesterol level be?

HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein and is considered “good” because it lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke. The higher number for your HDL, the better. You can raise your HDL by quitting smoking, losing excess weight, and being more active.

Less than 40 mg/dL = Low HDL (higher risk)
40 to 59 mg/dL = The higher, the better
60 mg/dL and above = High HDL (lower risk, which is good)

What should my LDL (bad) cholesterol level be?

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) is the main carrier of harmful cholesterol in your blood. A high level of LDL means there is a higher risk of heart disease and stroke.

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 are 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