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Meridian Medical Consultants: General Services outline

Cholesterol numbers

IF Your Total Fasting Blood Cholesterol Level (mg/dL) is…
Less than 200 mg/dL:               Desirable

  • If your LDL, HDL and triglyceride levels are also at desirable levels and you have no other risk factors for heart disease, total blood cholesterol below 200 mg/dL puts you at relatively low risk of coronary heart disease.
  • Even with a low risk, however, it’s still smart to eat a heart-healthy diet, get regular physical activity and avoid tobacco smoke.
  • Have your cholesterol levels checked every year or as your doctor recommends.

200–239 mg/dL:                              Borderline – High Risk 

  • If your total cholesterol falls between 200 and 239 mg/dL, your doctor will evaluate your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides. It's possible to have borderline-high total cholesterol numbers with normal levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol balanced by high HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Work with your doctor to create a prevention and treatment plan that's right for you. Make lifestyle changes, including eating a heart-healthy diet, getting regular physical activity and avoiding tobacco smoke.
  • Depending on your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and your other risk factors, you may also need medication.
  • Ask your doctor how often you should have your cholesterol rechecked. 

240 mg/dL and Higher:             High Risk

  • People who have a total cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL or more typically have twice the risk of coronary heart disease as people whose cholesterol level is desirable (200 mg/dL).
  • If your test didn’t show your LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, your doctor should order a fasting profile.
  • Work with your doctor to create a prevention and treatment plan that's right for you.
  • Whether or not you need cholesterol-regulating medication, make lifestyle changes, including eating a heart-healthy diet, getting regular physical activity and avoiding tobacco smoke.

Your HDL (Good) Cholesterol Level

  • With HDL (good) cholesterol, higher levels are better.
  • Low HDL cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL for men, less than 50 mg/dL for women) puts you at higher risk for heart disease.
  • In the average man, HDL cholesterol levels range from 40 to 50 mg/dL. In the average woman, they range from 50 to 60 mg/dL. An HDL cholesterol of 60 mg/dL or higher gives some protection against heart disease.
  • Smoking, being overweight and being sedentary can all result in lower HDL cholesterol.
  • To raise your HDL level, avoid tobacco smoke, maintain a healthy weight and get at least 30–60 minutes of physical activity more days than not.
  • People with high blood triglycerides usually also have lower HDL cholesterol and a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Progesterone, anabolic steroids and male sex hormones (testosterone) also lower HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Female sex hormones raise HDL cholesterol levels.

Your LDL (Bad) Cholesterol Level

LDL Cholesterol Levels

Less than 100 mg/dL

Optimal

100 to 129 mg/dL

Above Optimal

130 to 159 mg/dL

Borderline High

160 to 189 mg/dL

High

190 mg/dL and above

Very High

 

  • The lower your LDL cholesterol, the lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. In fact, it's a better gauge of risk than total blood cholesterol. In general, LDL levels fall into these categories:
  • Your other risk factors for heart disease and stroke help determine what your LDL level should be, as well as the appropriate treatment for you. A healthy level for you may not be healthy for your friend or neighbor.
  • Discuss your levels and your treatment options with your doctor to get the plan that works for you.

 

 

 

Featured Resources
Blood Pressure and Hypertension
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Cholesterol Numbers
Your Triglyceride Level
Blood Sugar Control Goals
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