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How much is High Cholesterol: Good (HDL) and Bad (LDL) Cholesterol.

Banner Image: Cholesterol Tests are important to Monitor Heart Health- Dr. Biprajit Parbat - HEARTVEDA


Welcome to our blog where we dive into the important topic of understanding cholesterol levels. Knowing the normal range of cholesterol, the difference between good and bad cholesterol, and the impact it has on our overall health is crucial for leading a healthy lifestyle. Many people overlook the signs and symptoms of high cholesterol, which can have severe consequences if left untreated. For example, a seemingly healthy individual who eats well and exercises regularly may still have high cholesterol without even realizing it.

In fact, in India, studies have shown that approximately 52% of urban and 40% of rural populations have high cholesterol levels, making it a significant concern for public health. Join us as we explore the ins and outs of cholesterol and how it affects our bodies. 

Why are Cholesterol Numbers Important?

Cholesterol Levels - Dr. Biprajit Parbat - HEARTVEDA

Cholesterol numbers play a crucial role in assessing your risk for heart disease. When your cholesterol levels are high, it can lead to the formation of atherosclerotic plaque, which can block blood flow to essential organs like your heart, legs, and brain.

Atherosclerosis, the process of plaque buildup in the arteries, can occur silently and without symptoms until a heart attack or stroke occurs. That’s why it’s essential to get your cholesterol numbers checked regularly so that you can identify high cholesterol levels early and take necessary steps to reduce your risk of heart disease.

“Cholesterol numbers allow you to track and monitor your heart health and determine whether you need to make any lifestyle changes or seek medical intervention,” says Dr. Jane Thompson, a renowned cardiologist.

By understanding your cholesterol numbers, you can take a proactive approach to your cardiovascular health. Lowering your cholesterol levels can help prevent the progression of atherosclerosis and reduce the likelihood of developing serious conditions such as coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, and carotid artery disease.

In the fast-paced city of Bangalore, where ambition and drive colored every corner, lived Ajay, a 39-year-old software engineer. His life was a whirlwind of coding marathons and tight deadlines, a rhythm that left little time for health considerations.

Ajay, a father of one and a loving husband, was a man of intellect and pragmatism. Yet, when it came to his health, he often relied on assumptions rather than facts. His family’s history of heart disease loomed in the background, but Ajay believed his active lifestyle was enough to keep him safe.

When it comes to heart disease, cholesterol plays a significant role. High levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, contribute to the development of plaque in the arteries. Over time, this plaque buildup narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow, leading to various cardiovascular complications.

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, on the other hand, is often called “good” cholesterol because it helps remove LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream. Maintaining a healthy balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol is crucial for heart health.

In short, monitoring your cholesterol numbers is vital in assessing your risk for heart disease, understanding the progression of atherosclerosis, and identifying the need for lifestyle modifications or medical intervention.

Cholesterol ComponentIdeal Level
Total CholesterolLess than 200 mg/dL
LDL CholesterolLess than 100 mg/dL
HDL CholesterolAbove 60 mg/dL
TriglyceridesLess than 150 mg/dL
Table 1. Cholesterol and its ideal levels

What is the Unit of Measurement for Cholesterol?

When it comes to measuring cholesterol levels, the unit of measurement used is milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). This unit is also used to measure triglyceride levels. When you receive the results of your cholesterol test, they will be reported in mg/dL. Understanding this unit of measurement is crucial in accurately interpreting your cholesterol levels and assessing your risk for heart disease.

Cholesterol levels are an important indicator of your heart health, and knowing the unit of measurement allows you to make sense of the numbers provided in your test results. The milligrams per deciliter unit provides a standardized way of quantifying the amount of cholesterol present in your blood.

In addition to cholesterol levels, understanding the unit of measurement is essential when discussing triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are another type of lipid that can affect your heart health. Similar to cholesterol, triglyceride levels are reported in mg/dL.

By being aware of the unit of measurement for cholesterol and triglycerides, you can effectively track and manage your lipid levels. This knowledge empowers you to make informed decisions about your heart health and take appropriate steps to maintain healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

What are Normal Cholesterol Levels: Total, Good & Bad Cholesterol.

Your cholesterol levels can provide valuable insights into your heart health. Normal cholesterol levels vary based on factors such as age and sex. By understanding what’s considered normal, you can monitor your levels and take appropriate steps to maintain a healthy heart.

Here are the desirable ranges for different cholesterol components:

  • Total Cholesterol: Below 200 mg/dL
  • HDL (Good) Cholesterol: Above 60 mg/dL
  • LDL (Bad) Cholesterol: Below 100 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides: Below 150 mg/dL

Non-HDL cholesterol and the ratio between total cholesterol and HDL are additional measurements that healthcare providers consider when assessing your cholesterol numbers. These indicators provide a more comprehensive view of your heart health.

One day, during an annual health check-up, Ajay’s doctor suggested a comprehensive cholesterol test. Ajay was hesitant, believing it unnecessary, but his wife, Priya, urged him to proceed. The results were a wake-up call – his cholesterol levels were high, putting him at risk of heart disease.

Shocked and concerned, Ajay turned to Dr. Sharma, a renowned cardiologist, for guidance. Dr. Sharma explained the significance of understanding cholesterol tests. “Knowing your LDL, HDL, and triglycerides levels is crucial. They’re indicators of your heart health,” he said.

What is Considered High Cholesterol?

When it comes to cholesterol levels, it’s essential to understand what is considered high cholesterol. Total cholesterol levels of 200 mg/dL or higher are generally classified as high cholesterol. However, healthcare providers use additional categories to further define cholesterol levels and assess the risk for heart disease accurately.

If your total cholesterol falls within the range of 200-239 mg/dL, it is categorized as borderline high. This indicates that your cholesterol levels are above the optimal range but not yet at a concerning level. It serves as a warning sign that you may need to make lifestyle changes to manage your cholesterol levels.

On the other hand, if your total cholesterol is below 200 mg/dL, it is categorized as near optimal. This means that your cholesterol levels are within a healthy range and generally associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

Understanding your cholesterol category is crucial in assessing your risk for heart disease. It helps you and your healthcare provider determine the appropriate measures to manage your cholesterol levels and maintain overall heart health.

How Often Should I Get My Cholesterol Checked?

Cholesterol testing according to age - Dr. Biprajit Parbat - HEARTVEDA

The frequency of cholesterol checks depends on various factors, including your age, family history, and risk factors for heart disease. It’s important to regularly monitor your cholesterol levels to assess your overall cardiovascular health. While there are general guidelines, individual circumstances may warrant more frequent testing. Here’s what you need to know:


For most adults, it is recommended to have a cholesterol check every 4-6 years starting at the age of 20. This timeframe allows for early detection of any concerning trends and provides an opportunity to modify lifestyle habits before serious complications arise. However, there are specific situations where more frequent testing would be advised:

  • If you have a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol, it is recommended to have your cholesterol checked more often. Genetic factors can increase your risk, making regular monitoring essential for early intervention.
  • If you have other risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or being overweight, more frequent cholesterol checks may be necessary. These additional risk factors can further impact your cholesterol levels and overall cardiovascular health.

Children and Adolescents

Cholesterol testing is not typically required for children and adolescents unless specific risk factors are present. The first cholesterol check is usually recommended between the ages of 9 and 11, with subsequent tests occurring every 5 years unless otherwise indicated. Risk factors in this age group may include obesity, high blood pressure, or a family history of early-onset heart disease or high cholesterol.

It’s important to remember that cholesterol checks are just one aspect of maintaining heart health. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity, a balanced diet, and not smoking are crucial for overall cardiovascular well-being. If you have any concerns about your cholesterol levels or risk factors, consult with your healthcare provider who can provide personalized guidance and recommendations.

I Just Learned I Have High Cholesterol. Now What?

If you have been diagnosed with high cholesterol, there are various steps you can take to lower your numbers and reduce your risk of heart disease. Your healthcare provider will guide you in making necessary lifestyle changes, such as incorporating regular exercise, quitting smoking, managing your weight, and adopting a heart-healthy diet. In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help manage high cholesterol levels. It’s essential to follow your provider’s recommendations and work towards achieving healthy cholesterol levels.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in all cells of the body. It plays important roles in bodily functions, such as building cell membranes, producing hormones, and aiding in digestion. Cholesterol is produced by the liver, where it is synthesized and then transported to various parts of the body through the bloodstream.

While the liver produces cholesterol, it can also be obtained from certain foods. Foods that are high in saturated and trans fats can increase the levels of cholesterol in the blood. Some examples include red meat, full-fat dairy products, and fried foods. On the other hand, foods high in dietary fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can help lower cholesterol levels.

Types of Cholesterol

There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol because high levels of it can contribute to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, increasing the risk of coronary artery disease. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is known as “good” cholesterol because it helps remove excess cholesterol from the arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Cholesterol TypeDescriptionImpact on Health
LDL cholesterolCarries cholesterol from the liver to the cellsHigh levels can contribute to plaque formation in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease
HDL cholesterolTransports excess cholesterol from the arteries to the liver for removalHelps reduce the risk of heart disease
Table 2. Role of LDL and HDL

It’s important to maintain a balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. Elevated LDL cholesterol levels and low HDL cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

How Do You Measure Cholesterol Levels?

Cholesterol levels are measured through a blood test called a lipoprotein panel. This test provides information about various components of your cholesterol, including total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. To ensure accurate results, it is typically recommended to fast for 9 to 12 hours before the test.

The lipoprotein panel measures the following:

  1. Total cholesterol: This represents the overall amount of cholesterol in your blood.
  2. LDL cholesterol: Also known as “bad” cholesterol, high levels of LDL cholesterol can contribute to the build-up of plaque in your arteries.
  3. HDL cholesterol: Also known as “good” cholesterol, higher levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
  4. Non-HDL cholesterol: This includes all the cholesterol in your blood that isn’t HDL. It is considered an important indicator of heart health.
  5. Triglycerides: These are a type of fat found in the blood. Elevated levels of triglycerides can increase the risk of heart disease.
Test in Lipid PanelDescription and Significance
Total CholesterolOverall cholesterol level (includes LDL, VLDL, and HDL).
Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL)“Bad cholesterol” – High levels can increase heart disease risk.
Very Low-density Lipoprotein (VLDL)Often low in fasting samples, high levels may indicate abnormal metabolism.
High-density Lipoprotein (HDL)“Good cholesterol” – Helps reduce bad cholesterol buildup.
TriglyceridesType of fat from food – High levels can increase heart disease risk and cause pancreas problems.
Source Link

The measurements obtained from the lipoprotein panel help healthcare providers assess the balance between different types of cholesterol in your body and provide insight into your risk of developing heart disease.

Cholesterol ComponentDesirable LevelsHigh Levels
Total CholesterolBelow 200 mg/dL200 mg/dL or higher
LDL CholesterolBelow 100 mg/dLAbove 160 mg/dL
HDL CholesterolAbove 60 mg/dLBelow 40 mg/dL for men, below 50 mg/dL for women
Non-HDL CholesterolBelow 130 mg/dLAbove 160 mg/dL
TriglyceridesBelow 150 mg/dLAbove 200 mg/dL
Table 3. Cholesterol type and associated levels

It is important to note that these desirable and high levels may vary depending on your individual circumstances, such as age, gender, and any existing underlying health conditions. Your healthcare provider will interpret your lipoprotein panel results and provide guidance on managing your cholesterol levels to reduce your risk of heart disease.

What Do My Cholesterol Numbers Mean?

Cholesterol numbers provide valuable information about the different components of cholesterol and can help assess your risk of heart disease. These numbers are expressed in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) and vary based on age and gender.

In general, lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides are considered healthy, while higher levels of HDL cholesterol are beneficial for heart health.

Here’s a breakdown of what each cholesterol number means:

  1. Total Cholesterol: This measures the overall amount of cholesterol circulating in your blood. Desirable levels are generally below 200 mg/dL.
  2. LDL Cholesterol: Often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, high LDL levels can contribute to plaque buildup in the arteries and increase the risk of heart disease. Ideally, LDL levels should be below 100 mg/dL.
  3. HDL Cholesterol: Commonly known as “good” cholesterol, higher levels of HDL can help remove LDL cholesterol from the arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease. HDL levels above 60 mg/dL are considered desirable.
  4. Non-HDL Cholesterol: This represents all the cholesterol in your blood that isn’t HDL. Non-HDL cholesterol includes LDL cholesterol and other types of cholesterol. It is an important indicator of heart health and should be kept at a low level.
  5. Triglycerides: Triglycerides are a type of fat that can contribute to the development of heart disease. Desirable levels are generally below 150 mg/dL.

Understanding these cholesterol numbers is crucial for assessing your risk of heart disease and guiding treatment decisions. Maintaining healthy levels through lifestyle changes and, if necessary, medication can help protect your heart health in the long run.

Armed with this new knowledge, Ajay embarked on a journey of transformation. He delved into learning about heart-healthy diets and lifestyle changes. He swapped processed foods for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and incorporated regular exercise into his daily routine.

As weeks turned into months, Ajay’s efforts bore fruit. His cholesterol levels improved, and he felt more energetic and focused. His newfound understanding of heart health also inspired his colleagues, leading to a wellness movement in his office.

Reflecting on his journey, Ajay realized the power of knowledge in changing one’s life. “It’s not just about working hard but also about knowing better,” he thought, grateful for the lesson learned.

“Are you aware of what your body is telling you? Remember, knowledge is the first step towards a healthier heart.”


Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is crucial for maintaining heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease. Regular cholesterol checks, adopting healthy lifestyle changes, and when necessary, medication, are key factors in managing cholesterol levels.

To improve your cholesterol numbers and overall heart health, it’s important to incorporate regular exercise, practice healthy eating habits, maintain a healthy weight, and quit smoking. These lifestyle changes can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

In some cases, lifestyle changes alone may not be enough, and medication may be necessary to achieve optimal cholesterol levels. It’s important to work closely with your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for you.

By understanding your cholesterol numbers and taking appropriate steps to manage them, you can improve your heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease. Remember, it’s never too late to make positive lifestyle changes and prioritize your heart health.

Key Takeaways:

  • Too much cholesterol can lead to various cardiovascular diseases
  • Regular cholesterol checks are important to assess your risk for heart disease
  • A blood test called a lipid panel measures different cholesterol levels
  • Normal cholesterol levels vary based on age and sex
  • Lifestyle changes and medication may be necessary to manage high cholesterol levels

FAQ Section on Cholesterol Tests and Its Components

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Prevent "Heart Attack in Young" - by reversing metabolic stress i.e. Cholesterol, Obesity, Prediabetes & Diabetes.

Let’s Prevent Heart Attack in 30s, 40s & 50s…

To learn more - participate in my FREE MATERCLASS.