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Total Cholesterol


Total cholesterol is the sum of all cholesterol measured in a person's blood. This total includes high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is sometimes called the "good cholesterol," and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), sometimes called the "bad cholesterol," and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL).

Cholesterol is measured either in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) or in millimoles per liter of blood (mmol/L).

  • A total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL (5.17 mmol/L) is desirable.
  • 200 to 239 mg/dL (5.17 to 6.18 mmol/L) is considered borderline high cholesterol.
  • 240 mg/dL (6.21 mmol/L) or higher is considered high cholesterol.

The ratio of total cholesterol to "good" (HDL) cholesterol is also important, especially if total cholesterol is high.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical ReviewerCarl Orringer, MD - Cardiology, Clinical Lipidology
Last RevisedJuly 13, 2011

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