Cholesterol By The Numbers

Keeping up with your cholesterol numbers can be confusing. There’s your total cholesterol, your good cholesterol (HDL), your bad cholesterol (LDL), lipids, triglycerides. . . .

It’s enough to make your head spin.

So let’s make it easy. Here’s the key information for understanding your cholesterol numbers, which help measure your risk for heart attack and stroke. But remember, these numbers won’t do you any good unless you get yourself tested. All adults age 20 and older should have these four cholesterol levels tested at least every five years. All it takes is a simple blood test.

Total Cholesterol

Desirable: less than 200

Too High: 240 and above

Good (HDL) Cholesterol 

Desirable: 60 and above

Too Low: Less than 40 for men and less than 50 for women

Bad (LDL) Cholesterol 

Desirable: less than 100

Too High: 160 and above


Desirable: less than 100

Too High: 200 and above


Source: American Heart Association