What is the recommended blood cholesterol level?

Carmen Patrick Mohan, MD
Internal Medicine
Cholesterol guidelines have recently changed and are now based on individualized cardiovascular disease risk. Your goal blood cholesterol depends on your age, gender, race, blood pressure, medical history, family history, and cholesterol profile.
In an otherwise healthy person without known heart disease or risk factors for heart disease, a total cholesterol less than 200 is recommended. If a person has heart disease or other health problems, he should discuss his cholesterol goal with a physician.
Following are recommended cholesterol levels:
  • Total cholesterol: Lower is better; 200 mg/dL or less is desirable.
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) ("bad cholesterol"): Lower is better; 100 mg/dL or less is optimal for people with multiple cardiac risk factors; 70 mg/dL or less is the goal for most patients with heart disease.
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) ("good cholesterol"): Higher is better; 40 mg/dL or more for men, 45 mg/dL or more for women; 60 mg/dL is considered protective against heart disease.
  • Triglycerides: Lower is better; 150 mg/dL or less is normal.
  • Ratio of total cholesterol to HDL: Obtained by dividing total cholesterol by HDL. Lower is better; 4.5:1 or less.
These are general guidelines. Your healthcare provider can help you set personal goals for cholesterol levels, based on your condition and other risk factors.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Your HDL, the healthy cholesterol, needs to be 50 or better; your LDL, the unhealthy cholesterol, should be under 100. If your numbers do not fall in this range, discuss strategies for lowering your LDL and increasing your HDL with a health-care professional.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.