Risk for heart disease and stroke increases with rising blood cholesterol levels. As blood cholesterol exceeds 220 ml/dl (milligrams per decilitre-the units used to measure blood cholesterol in the United States), risk for heart disease increases at a more rapid rate.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. All adults should have their blood cholesterol level measured at least once every five years. If your blood cholesterol level is: Below 180- your blood cholesterol level is ideal. 180-199- your blood cholesterol level is acceptable. 200-219- your blood cholesterol level is borderline high. 220 or higher- your blood cholesterol level is too high. If your total blood cholesterol level is greater than 200 (and especially if it is over 220), you should have another test to see what type of cholesterol is high. If your HDL cholesterol level (the good kind) is: Under 35- it is too low. 36-50- it is acceptable. Over 50- it is ideal. If your LDL cholesterol level (the bad kind) is: 130 or less- it is ideal. 130 to 159- it is borderline high. 160 or greater- it is too high. You should also have your blood level of another type of fat- triglycerides- measured at the same time you have your blood cholesterol levels checked. High blood triglyceride levels can also increase risk for heart disease. Fortunately, these levels can be quickly lowered with weight control and more exercise.