Measure your LDL and other blood lipids

Everyone age 20 and older should have their cholesterol checked at least every five years through a blood test. The guidelines recommend you have a complete "lipoprotein profile" that measures total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL, the good cholesterol that may help prevent heart disease), and triglycerides, another type of fat in the blood stream. The test should be performed after fasting.

Low density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) goal values:

  • Less than 70 mg/dL for those with heart or blood vessel disease and for other patients at very high risk of heart disease (those with metabolic syndrome)
  • Less than 100 mg/dL for high risk patients (for example: some patients who have diabetes or multiple heart disease risk factors)
  • Less than 130 mg/dL otherwise

Total cholesterol (TC) goal values:

  • 75-169 mg/dL for those age 20 and younger
  • 100-199 mg/dL for those over age 21

High density lipoprotein (HDL) goal value:

  • Greater than 45 mg/dl (the higher the better)

Triglyceride (TG) goal value:

  • Less than 150 mg/dl

For more information:

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Reviewed: 12/2013