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Cholesterol Test (cont.)

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How do I interpret my cholesterol test results?

Cholesterol levels are but one of the risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. It is important to control cholesterol levels to minimize risk just as it is important to control diabetes, high blood pressure, and avoid smoking.

Guidelines for cholesterol levels have been developed by many health organizations including the American Heart Association. It is important to remember that tests may need to be repeated over time to help monitor treatment and disease risk prevention.

Total cholesterol
Less than 200 mg/dL: desirable
200-239 mg/dL: borderline high risk
240 and over: high risk
HDL (high density lipoprotein)
Less than 40 mg/dL (men), less than 50 mg/dL (women): increased risk of heart disease
Greater than 60mg/dL: some protection against heart disease
LDL (low density lipoprotein)
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
Less than n150 mg/dL: normal
150-199 mg/dL: borderline to high
200-499mg/dL: high
Above 500 mg/dL: very high

Medically reviewed by Rambod Rouhbakhsh, MD, MBA, FAAFP; American Board of Family Medicine


American Heart Association. What Your Cholesterol Levels Mean.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/11/2014

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