It is desirable to have high levels of HDL and low levels of LDL and triglycerides. The HDL particle transports cholesterol from the arteries to the liver, where it is broken down. The LDL particle may carry cholesterol to the arteries, where it can cause a buildup of plaque that can clog the arteries and possibly lead to a heart attack or stroke.
- A desirable HDL level is higher than 50 for women and higher than 40 for men.
- A desirable LDL level depends on a person’s risk factors, such as a history of heart disease or diabetes, hypertension and smoking.
A triglyceride level below 150 is considered desirable.