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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
  • good cholesterol (called HDL) – this may make you less likely to have heart problems or a stroke
  • non-HDL cholesterol – the difference between total cholesterol and HDL

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

You might be able to get separate results for your HDL and non-HDL cholesterol too. Ask your doctor or nurse.


View your results online

Results of tests you had at your GP surgery, and results that have been shared with your GP surgery, may be available in your online GP health record.

View test results in your GP health record

How your GP uses your results

Your GP will use your cholesterol levels along with other factors, such as your age, blood pressure and health conditions, to estimate your risk of cardiovascular disease.

They may give you a score (called a QRISK score) which estimates how likely you are to have a heart or circulation problem over the next 10 years.

What your cholesterol levels should be

What is a good target level for you depends on things like your age, whether you have any health conditions and your risk of cardiovascular disease.

These levels are a guide for healthy adults. If you have been ill, are taking some medicines, or have recently had a baby, your levels may be lower or higher. It does not make much difference to these levels whether you have eaten before your test or not.

Guide to healthy levels for different types of cholesterol
Result Healthy level

Total cholesterol

Below 5mmol/L

HDL (good cholesterol)

Above 1.0mmol/L for men or above 1.2mmol/L for women

Non-HDL (bad cholesterol)

Below 4mmol/L

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