Cholesterol levels

About your cholesterol result

A cholesterol test can measure:

When you get your result, you may just be told your total cholesterol.

You might be able to get separate results for your HDL and non-HDL cholesterol too. Ask your doctor or nurse.

How your GP uses your results

Your GP will use your cholesterol levels along with other factors, such as your age, blood pressure and health conditions, to estimate your risk of cardiovascular disease. They may give you a score (called a QRISK score) which estimates how likely you are to have a heart or circulation problem over the next 10 years.

What your cholesterol levels should be

What is a good target level for you depends on things like your age, whether you have any health conditions and your risk of cardiovascular disease.

These levels are a guide for healthy adults. If you have been ill, are taking some medicines, or have recently had a baby, your levels may be lower or higher.

Guide to healthy levels for different types of cholesterol

Result Healthy level
Total cholesterol Below 5mmol/L
HDL (good cholesterol) Above 1.0mmol/L for men or above 1.2mmol/L for women
Non-HDL (bad cholesterol) Below 4mmol/L

Find out more about cholesterol levels on the Heart UK website.

Page last reviewed: 24 June 2022
Next review due: 24 June 2025