What Are Normal Cholesterol Levels?

Updated April 17, 2017

Elevated levels of cholesterol are widely recognised as a risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and people are encouraged to test and monitor their cholesterol levels to make sure that they are within normal ranges. But what exactly is the normal range for cholesterol levels?


There are two main types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is considered "bad" cholesterol, whereas HDL has beneficial properties and is sometimes called "good" cholesterol.

Normal LDL Levels

To have the lowest risk of heart disease, a person's LDL should ideally be below 100 mg/dl. Some doctors believe that LDL should be lower than 70 mg/dl for optimal heart health.

Normal HDL Levels

Levels of HDL should be between 35 and 60 mg/dl, but higher levels are not necessarily considered negative for health.

Overall Cholesterol Levels

In healthy individuals the combination of HDL and LDL should result in cholesterol levels of lower than 200 mg/dL.


People with high cholesterol can attempt to improve their cholesterol levels with diet or exercise, but doctors may recommend cholesterol-lowering medications for people with excessively high levels or for whom lifestyle modifications do not work.

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About the Author

Kay Daniels is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience writing and editing online. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Excelsior College, a certificate in copy editing from University of California, San Diego Extension, and is in her second year of medical school.