A basic cholesterol reading has two values, total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. A lipoprotein profile provides total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
A total cholesterol value below 200 mg/dl is considered optimal. A reading of 200 to 239 mg/dl is borderline high. And 240 mg/dl or above is considered high.
LDL "Bad" Cholesterol
An LDL value below 100 mg/dl is considered optimal. A reading of 100 to 129 mg/dl is near or above optimal. A total of 130 to 159 mg/dl is borderline high. And 160 to 189 mg/dl is considered high, while 190 mg/dl or above is very high.
HDL "Good" Cholesterol
An HDL value below 40 mg/dl (for men) or 50 mg/dl (for women) is classified as low HDL and is a major risk factor for heart disease. A reading of 60 mg/dl or above is high HDL.
A triglyceride level below 150 mg/dl is normal. A reading from 150 to 199 mg/dl is borderline high. A reading of 200 to 499 mg/dl is high, while 500 mg/dl or above is considered very high. A high triglyceride level combined with a low HDL or high LDL level increases the risk for heart attack and stroke.
To ensure accuracy, no food, liquid or medication should be consumed for nine to 12 hours prior to a lipoprotein profile.