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What are healthy values for cholesterol scores?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Cholesterol can hurt your heart in many ways. Watch as Dr. Oz explains the difference between good and bad cholesterol, and the cholesterol numbers you need to know, in this video.

Dr. Thomas J. Hill, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

For a healthy cholesterol level, if you don't have known heart disease or diabetes, you want your LDL (bad) cholesterol below 130 but the lower the better. You want your HDL (good) cholesterol greater than 40 if you're male and greater than 50 if you're female.

A healthy total blood cholesterol level is less than 200 mg/dL, while a high total blood cholesterol level is above 240 mg/dL, assuming one does not have other medical problems that might necessitate lower cholesterol goals.

Cholesterol can be broken down into the following categories and ranges according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Cholesterol values are listed in mg/dL:

  • Total cholesterol (TC): Desirable <200; Borderline high 200-239; High ≥240
  • Low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol:  Optimal <100; Above optimal 100-129; Borderline high 130-159; High 160-189; Very high ≥190
  • High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: Low <40; Optimal ≥60
  • Triglycerides: Normal <150; Borderline high 150-199; High 200-499; Very high ≥500

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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.