When looking at cholesterol levels, the total HDL and LDL levels are all measured. They are best measured on an empty stomach, so people are usually told to stop eating and stop drinking anything except water for 12 hours before being tested (i.e. fasting). Cholesterol levels can be measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The following levels are considered to be favorable in healthy people and are not indicative of high cholesterol:
- Total cholesterol: below 200 mg/dL
- LDL cholesterol: below 130 mg/dL
- HDL cholesterol: above 40 mg/dL
How much of a problem someone’s cholesterol levels are depends also on a person’s other risk factors for heart disease, such a smoking, high blood pressure, age, gender, family history, and type 2 diabetes.