LDL Cholesterol: The Bad Cholesterol

LDL Cholesterol: The Bad Cholesterol

Cholesterol Numbers Range Chart

Triclyceride Numbers Range Chart

Cholesterol is a soft, wax-like substance found in all parts of the body. Your body needs a little bit of cholesterol to work properly. But too much cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to heart disease.

Some cholesterol is considered good and some is considered bad. Different blood tests can be done to individually measure each type of cholesterol.

Total Cholestrol

A total cholesterol test measures all types of cholesterol in your blood. The results of this test tells your doctor whether your cholesterol is too high.

  • Best: lower than 200
  • Borderline high: 200 – 239
  • High: 240 and higher

If your total cholesterol levels are high, your doctor will want to know your LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol levels before deciding whether you need treatment.

Knowing your LDL and HDL cholesterol levels will also help guide your doctor to choose the best drug for you.

LDL ( Bad cholestrol)

LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. It’s also sometimes called “bad” cholesterol. Lipoproteins are made of fat and protein. They carry cholesterol, triglycerides, and other fats, called lipids, in the blood to various parts of the body. LDL can clog your arteries.

Your LDL level is what doctors watch most closely. You want your LDL to be low. Too much LDL, commonly called “bad cholesterol,” is linked to cardiovascular disease. If it gets too high, you will need treatment.

A healthy LDL level is one that falls in the best or near-best range.

Best: Less than 100 mg/dL (less than 70 mg/dL for persons with a history of heart disease or those at very high risk)

Near Best: 100 – 129 mg/dL

Borderline High: 130 – 159 mg/dL

High: 160 – 189 mg/dL

Very High: 190 mg/dL and higher

HDL (Good) Cholesterol

HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It’s also sometimes called “good” cholesterol. Lipoproteins are made of fat and protein. They carry cholesterol, triglycerides, and other fats, called lipids, in the blood from other parts of your body to your liver.

You want your HDL cholesterol to be high. Studies of both men and women have shown that the higher your HDL, the lower your risk of coronary artery disease. This is why HDL is sometimes referred to as “good” cholesterol.

A healthy HDL level should be as follows:

  • Men: above 40 mg/dL
  • Women: above 50 mg/dL

An HDL 60 mg/dL or above helps protect against heart disease. Exercise helps raise your HDL cholesterol.

VLDL (Bad) Cholestrol

VLDL stands for very low density lipoprotein. There are three major types of lipoproteins. VLDL contains the highest amount of triglycerides. VLDL is considered a type of bad cholesterol, because it helps cholesterol build up on the walls of arteries.

A normal VLDL cholesterol level is between 5 and 40 mg/dL.


Sometimes, your cholesterol levels may be low enough that your doctor will not ask you to change your diet or take any medications.

When your levels are high, your doctor must consider other factors before deciding whether your cholesterol levels are a concern and need treatment.

Alternate Names

Cholesterol test results; LDL test results; VLDL test results; HDL test results

How’s your cholesterol? Time to get it checked!

Keeping your cholesterol levels healthy is a great way to keep your heart healthy – and lower your chances of getting Heart disease or having a stroke. Cholesterol can be tricky to understand, though, because not all is bad for you. Some is actually good for you. The most important thing you can do as a first step is to know your cholesterol numbers by getting your cholesterol tested. Here are some easy ways for you to understand what the testing involves, how it can help you and ways to improve your health by improving your cholesterol.

The American Heart Association endorses the

National Cholestrol Education program Guidlines For Detection of high Cholestrol

All adults age 20 or older should have a fasting lipoprotein profile — which measures total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides — once every five years.  

Recently updated

This test is done after a nine- to 12-hour fast without food, liquids or pills. It gives information about total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, HDL (good) cholesterol and triglycerides. 

Your test report will show your cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). To determine how your cholesterol levels affect your risk of heart disease, your doctor will also take into account other risk factors such as age, family history, smoking and high blood pressure.

Your Cholestrol Levels

Your Total Blood Cholestrol Level


Total Cholesterol Level Category
Less than 200 mg/dL Desirable level that puts you at lower risk for coronary heart disease. A cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL or higher raises your risk.
200 to 239 mg/dL Borderline high
240 mg/dL and above High blood cholesterol. A person with this level has more than twice the risk of coronary heart disease as someone whose cholesterol is below 200 mg/dL.

What LDL Cholesterol Test Results Mean

Although heart attacks are unpredictable, higher levels of LDL cholesterol increase your risk.

Expert groups define the levels of LDL cholesterol as follows:

  • An LDL  of less than 100 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is optimal.
  • An LDL  of 100 to 129 mg/dL is near-optimal.
  • LDL  between 130 and 159 mg/dL is borderline high.
  • LDL  cholesterol between 160 and 189 mg/dL is high.
  • An LDL  of 190 mg/dL or more is very high.