What Is the Normal Range for Cholesterol Levels?

Reviewed on 11/11/2020

What Is Cholesterol?

Total cholesterol below 200 mg/dl, with LDL at lower than 130 mg/dl or below are the blood cholesterol levels an average healthy person should aim for to be considered “normal.”
Total cholesterol below 200 mg/dl, with LDL at lower than 130 mg/dl or below are the blood cholesterol levels an average healthy person should aim for to be considered “normal.”

Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by the body. Most of the cholesterol in the body is naturally produced in the liver, and the remaining 25% of cholesterol comes from foods we eat. 

Cholesterol acts in the body to support cell membranes, synthesize hormones, aid in digestion, and convert vitamin D in the skin.

What Does a Cholesterol Score Measure?

The American Heart Association recommends adults age 20 and older have cholesterol levels checked every four to six years. 

A cholesterol score usually contains three measurements:

  • Low density lipoproteins (LDL)
    • “Bad” cholesterol
    • Too much LDL can deposit in the artery walls
    • This buildup can form plaque that narrows arteries and restricts blood flow, which lead to coronary artery disease
  • High density lipoproteins (HDL
    • “Good” cholesterol
    • HDL removes LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream and the artery walls
    • A higher HDL score is desirable 
  • Triglycerides 
    • The most common form of fat in the body
    • Can be an energy source
    • A higher than normal triglyceride level may mean a higher risk of developing coronary artery disease

What Is the Normal Range for Cholesterol Levels?

People who do not have heart disease should aim for the following cholesterol levels:

  • Total cholesterol below 200 mg/dL
    • Levels above 200 mg/dL are considered high and mean a higher risk for developing heart disease
  • LDL cholesterol below 130 mg/dL
    • Or much lower for those at risk of heart attacks or stroke
  • HDL cholesterol above 60 mg/dL
    • HDL levels of 60 mg/dL and higher can help reduce the risk for heart disease
    • HDL levels of 40 mg/dL and lower are considered a risk factor for developing heart disease
  • Triglycerides below 150 mg/dL
    • Levels higher than 150 mg/dL increase the risk of developing heart disease and metabolic syndrome, which is also a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke 
  • Non-HDL cholesterol below 160 mg/dL
    • This is the total cholesterol minus the HDL cholesterol
    • Or lower for those at risk of heart attacks or stroke

SLIDESHOW

How to Lower Your Cholesterol & Save Your Heart See Slideshow

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Reviewed on 11/11/2020
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