Are you scratching your head because your Total Cholesterol seems fine, but your LDL is high? And what do all those acronyms mean? Crack the cholesterol code by understanding your lab values.


What it stands for: Low Density Lipoprotein

What it does: Delivers cholesterol to the body’s cells. Known as “Bad” cholesterol

Normal: <130 mg/dL; Borderline High: 130-159 mg/dL; High: 160 mg/dL or greater


What it stands for: High Density Lipoprotein

What it does: Delivers cholesterol to the liver for excretion. Known as “Good” cholesterol

Normal: > 45 mg/dL for males; >55 mg/dL for females

Total Cholesterol

What it is: LDL + HDL

Normal: 120-199 mg/dL; Borderline High: 200-239 mg/dL; High: 240 mg/dL or greater

Interpreting Your Cholesterol Panel

The reason that physicians monitor cholesterol is because high cholesterol, or hypercholesterolemia, can cause heart problems over time. It’s beneficial to look at each lab value individually but note that your doctor is probably looking at them in context of your overall risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). Occasional readings of high cholesterol are not as concerning as consistently high cholesterol readings.

Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease

    • Age
    • Race/ Family History of CVD
    • High Blood pressure
    • Elevated Total Cholesterol
    • Elevated LDL
    • Low HDL
    • History of diabetes
    • History of smoking
    • Lack of physical activity
    • Overweight

Calculate your individual risk by using the ASCVD Risk Estimator.

What next?

If you have your cholesterol panel results, bring them to your appointment at Total Nutrition Technology. Your provider can help you interpret the results.

Even if your risk is low, it’s never too early to start working on a healthier diet and your heart health. Your provider can help you build a personalized eating plan that includes foods that you enjoy.

Book your virtual or in person complimentary health assessment.