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What are the normal test ranges for total cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL)?

Learn how to assess blood cholesterol level readings.

Blood tests help determine the amount of cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL) present in one's body. [©Shutterstock, 2010]
©Shutterstock, 2010
Blood tests help determine the amount of cholesterol, triglycerides, low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL) present in one's body.

Normal blood cholesterol levels can range from 150 to 289 milligrams per deciliter. In order to lower the risk of coronary heart disease, the recommended total cholesterol level is less than 200 milligrams per deciliter. A range of 200 to 239 is considered to be "borderline" and anything above 240 milligrams per deciliter is considered to be high.

LDL-cholesterol in the blood seems to encourage the formation of artery-clogging fatty deposits, so the levels of it should be below 130 milligrams per deciliter (130 to 159 is considered borderline and greater than 160 is high risk). However the average LDL-cholesterol level is around 150 milligrams per deciliter, with the normal range occurring between 100 and 200.

The average HDL-cholesterol level is 55 milligrams per deciliter with the normal range being between 30 and 80. Anything less than 35 is considered a risk factor for a heart attack. However the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol (which washes out excess cholesterol from the blood) should be 3.5 to 4.5.

Triglycerides (fatty substances consisting of fatty acids and glycerol that are usually stored as fat as an energy reserve) range from 30 to 145 milligrams per deciliter.

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