Blood Cholesterol Levels

Guidelines from the National Cholesterol Education Program recommend the following levels as desirable or optimal for the average adult over age 20:

  • Total cholesterol less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
  • LDL cholesterol less than 100 mg/dL
  • HDL cholesterol greater than 40 mg/dL (a level above 60 mg/dL is considered to be protective against cardiovascular disease)
  • Triglycerides less than 150 mg/dL

Note that these are general targets. For total and LDL cholesterol, lower is better.In fact, for people with heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease, experts recommend aiming for an LDL under 70 mg/dL. For HDL, higher is better, with levels above 60 mg/dL offering extra protection against cardiovascular disease.

Source: NationalHeart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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