How to read cholesterol test?

So, you just got your cholesterol test results back and you have no idea what they mean? Fear not! You may not be a scientist, but with this easy-to-follow guide, you can decipher those numbers like a pro.

What is Cholesterol?

Before we get started with your test results, let’s talk about cholesterol. Cholesterol is essential for our bodies to function properly. It helps us build cells and produce hormones. However, too much of it can put us at risk for heart disease.

There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) – also known as “bad” cholesterol – and high-density lipoproteins (HDL) – or “good” cholesterol. LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to other parts of the body while HDL removes excess from the bloodstream.

Understanding Your Test Results

Now that we’ve covered some basics let’s dive into your test results!

Total Cholesterol Level

Your total cholesterol level is a measure of all the types of fats in your blood. The higher the number, the greater risk for heart disease:

  • Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL
  • Borderline High: 200-239 mg/dL
  • High: 240 mg/dL or above

Remember that this number alone doesn’t show whether you have an unhealthy amount of bad versus good cholesterol.

LDL Levels

Too much LDL in your blood builds up in the arteries making them harden and narrow which could lead to heart attacks or strokes:

  • Optimal/Low Risk: Less than 100 mg/dL
  • Near/above optimal Risk: 100-129mg/dl
  • Borderline/high risk: Between130–159mg/dl
  • High Risk/Staggering Risk/Very High-High/Very High Risk: 160–189mg/dl
  • Extremely high: Above190mg/dl

Note that if you have existing heart disease, the optimal LDL level for you will be below 70 mg/dL.

HDL Levels

The higher levels of HDL in your body may offer some protection against heart attacks:

  • Desirable: Greater than or equal to 60 mg/dL
  • Low (Higher risk for Coronary Heart Disease): Less than40 mg/Dl
  • Medium: Between41 to59Mg/ DL by more applicable scientific values

Lowest risk exists when both total cholesterol and bad/comfortable ranged falling within optimum limit with high good cholesterol rate. The higher the number above desirable range, generally better but a super-high (>100) can actually increase cardiovascular risk due to latent inflammation.

Triglycerides Level

Triglycerides are a type of fat found in blood which helps our body store energy. Too much triglyceride can also put us at risk for heart diseases:

Category Level(mg/dL) Level(mMol/L)
Normal <150 <1.7
Borderline High Whoppeing Elevated- Caution Encouraged 🙁 ) 150-199 caution encouraged as evidence suggests inflammation.
Moderately High Unflattering Reading on Your Life Insurance Application :(! ) (Hazardous Range)200 -499 2.3 –5.6
High Oh Man, Do We Need To Have A Talk 🙁 ) (Severe Hazardous Range)>500 ->5..7

What Can You Do About Your Test Results?

So now what? Don’t worry! There are things you can do to improve your cholesterol levels:

Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Embrace healthy habits. You can try these out.

  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet: Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats/fish whereas reduce consumption of green leafy vegetables and processed meat.
  • Exercise regularly, at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week like brisk walking or cycling as recommended in your region. Exercise helps HDL show up more often which improves health grades exceedingly well!

Make sure you check with your doctor before starting any major lifestyle changes or a maintaining adequate schedule to follow through. Your GP may suggest additional things based on various available treatment options.


Your GP may also recommend medications depending upon several factors discussed during examination like age; cholesterol levels (LDL-C >=190) apart from calibre over total risk factor recognition and appraisal happening hand-in-hand within parameters .


So there you have it! A guide for non-scientists about reading their cholesterol test results successfully that was definitely informative but not too confusing hopefully this added some value where actual medical jargon only would’ve confused rather than empowering our readership demographic huh? Remember! With healthy choices such as those mentioned above coupled with what GPs suggests could normalize/improve conditions causing abnormalities recognized via tests overtime along-with medication practices if necessary because after all -when life dishes out lemons don’t just add sugar-Learn to make lemonade whilst ensuring optimal bodily functions!( Extra points if doing while brisk-walking now).

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