Having an annual check of your cholesterol is a necessary part of monitoring your health. The cholesterol reading will come back with a number that lists your total HDL (good cholesterol that enables your body to function), LDL (the bad cholesterol that clogs your arteries) and triglycerides. The reading helps get a perspective on your body's overall health.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the normal range is between 40 and 60 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dl) of blood, but you can narrow that range based on your gender (see Resources).
A normal range for a man is between 40 and 50 mg/dl. Factors such as smoking and being overweight can lead to lower levels.
For women, the normal range is higher, between 50 and 60 mg/dl. Similar factors as those mentioned for men can lead to lower levels, but women have higher HDL levels than men due to female sex hormones.
Higher Is Better
The AHA makes it clear that a reading above 60 mg/dl is a positive thing. Higher levels of HDL provide protection against heart disease.
To get a clear reading, make sure you have fasted prior to the test.
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