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Cholesterol levels - High cholesterol

About your cholesterol result

A cholesterol test can measure:

  • total cholesterol – the overall amount of cholesterol in your blood, including both "good" and "bad" cholesterol
  • total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio (TC:HDL) – the level of good cholesterol in your blood compared to your overall cholesterol level
  • good cholesterol (called HDL) – this may make you less likely to have heart problems or a stroke
  • bad cholesterol (called LDL and non-HDL) – this may make you more likely to have heart problems or a stroke

When you get your result, you may just be told your total cholesterol.

You might be able to get separate results for your good and bad cholesterol and your total cholesterol to HDL ratio. Ask your doctor or nurse.

Check what your cholesterol levels should be

These levels are just a guide.

Cholesterol levels are used alongside other factors, such as lifestyle and medical conditions, to estimate your risk of cardiovascular disease.

The levels you should aim for might be different depending on things like your age, and whether you have conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

Ask your doctor or nurse what your levels should be.

Healthy levels for different types of cholesterol.
Result Healthy level
Total cholesterol 5mmol/L or below
Total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio Below 6
HDL (good cholesterol) 1mmol/L or above for men or 1.2mmol/L or above for women
Non-HDL (bad cholesterol) 4mmol/L or below

Find out more about cholesterol levels on the Heart UK website.

Page last reviewed: 13 July 2022
Next review due: 13 July 2025