Levels of Cholesterol

Updated:Dec 15,2010

How do I know if my cholesterol and triglyceride levels are optimal?

The following tables provide some general guidelines.  However, you should always discuss your own results with your doctor.

Total Cholesterol LevelClassification
Less than 200 mg/DLDesirable

200–239 mg/dL

Borderline-high risk

240 mg/dL and above

Very high risk

LDL Cholesterol LevelClassification*

Less than 100 mg/dL


100–129 mg/dL

Near optimal/above optimal

130–159 mg/dL

Borderline high

160–189 mg/dL

High risk

190 mg/dL and above

Very high risk

*Risk factors for heart disease include: family history of early heart problems (before age 55 for men, and before age 65 for women), smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, being male and over 45 or female and over 55, and having HDL levels below 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women.

HDL Cholesterol LevelClassification

Less than 40 mg/dL for men; less than 50 mg/dL for women

Major heart disease risk factor

60 mg/dL or higher

Gives some protection against heart disease

Triglyceride LevelClassification

Less than 150 mg/dL


150–199 mg/dL

Borderline-high risk

200–499 mg/dL

High risk

500 mg/dL or higher

Very high risk

Where can I learn more about cholesterol?

Check out the American Heart Association’s Cholesterol website to learn more about cholesterol  and its effects on your health.  This website can help you keep your cholesterol levels within healthy limits and reduce your risk of heart disease.