Healthy Cholesterol Levels

Any cholesterol level under 200 mg/dL is considered a healthy level of cholesterol; however, most cholesterol-lowering treatment decisions are based on HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, not total cholesterol. Generally, healthy levels for LDL would be under 100 mg/dL, but risk factors for heart disease can affect this. Healthy levels for HDL are above 40 mg/dL; the higher the numbers of HDL, the better.

Healthy Cholesterol Levels: An Introduction

When a person considers healthy levels of cholesterol, there are actually several cholesterol numbers that should be kept in mind. These cholesterol numbers include:
 
Triglyceride levels also need to be considered. Although triglycerides are actually not a type of cholesterol, they can play a role in the development of atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.
 

Total Cholesterol

A healthy cholesterol level for total cholesterol is under 200 mg/dL. It's best to consider total cholesterol to be a good overview number, not the number that you use to decide whether or not you have healthy levels of cholesterol.
 
Remember, total cholesterol levels can be misleading. For example, a person can have a "healthy" total cholesterol level but have a low HDL level and high LDL level. Both low HDL levels and high LDL levels increase a person's risk for heart disease. This is why most cholesterol lowering-treatment decisions are based on HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, not total cholesterol.
 

LDL Cholesterol

A healthy cholesterol level for LDL is under 100 mg/dL. But this is not the whole story. Healthy cholesterol levels for LDL also depend on the number of risk factors for heart disease a person has. For a person with no heart disease risk factors, a healthy LDL cholesterol level can actually be under 160 mg/dL. As risk factors increase, the healthy cholesterol level for LDL decreases. For a person who already has heart disease, diabetes, or a risk score higher than 20 percent, a healthy level for LDL is under 100 mg/dL.
 
If You Have
You Are in Category
And Your LDL Goal Is
Heart disease, diabetes, or a risk score higher than 20%
I. Highest risk
Less than 100 mg/dL
Two or more risk factors and a risk score of 10%–20%
II. Next highest risk
Less than 130 mg/dL
Two or more risk factors and a risk score lower than 10%
III. Moderate risk
Less than 130 mg/dL
One or no risk factors
IV. Low to moderate risk
Less than 160 mg/dL
 
(Click Heart Attack Risk or High Cholesterol Risk to learn about your risk for having a heart attack.)
 
 
10 Foods That Lower Cholesterol

Cholesterol Information

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