Cholesterol types and levels

Cholesterol comes in a variety of forms. Not all types of cholesterol are harmful. It’s important to understand the different roles of cholesterol in the body.

LipoproteinsLipoproteins carry cholesterol and other fats through the blood vessels to various parts of the body to be used, stored or removed. There are several types of lipoproteins. Here are the most important ones for you to know.
HDL CholesterolHigh Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is sometimes known as “good” cholesterol. HDL cholesterol helps to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver where it is processed and removed.
LDL CholesterolLow Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is sometimes referred to as “bad” cholesterol. Too much LDL cholesterol may leave deposits (plaque) on the lining of arteries, causing blockages and leading to cardiovascular disease.
TriglyceridesTriglycerides (TG) are another type of fatty substance in the blood. High levels of triglycerides can be harmful.

How do I determine my cholesterol levels?

Your doctor can measure your cholesterol levels by performing a simple blood test. A full cholesterol test measures your LDL cholesterol HDL cholesterol triglycerides total cholesterol levels.

What are target cholesterol levels?

If you have high cholesterol or have a risk of developing high cholesterol, it’s important for you to know your target cholesterol levels for each different type of cholesterol. Simply put, cholesterol targets are the levels of cholesterol in your blood that you and your health care team should be aiming for.

Cholesterol target levels for people at high cardiovascular risk

HDL cholesterolgreater than 1.0 mmol/L
LDL cholesterolless than 2.5 mmol/L
Triglyceridesless than 1.5 mmol/L

Discussing your cholesterol target levels with your doctor and/or health care team is an important part of managing your cholesterol.

Cholesterol targets for people at high risk of cardiovascular disease are listed to the left. Your targets may be different to those listed, depending on your family history and current state of health. Speak to your doctor to find out what your cholesterol targets should be.

When your cholesterol levels are too high, it may be difficult for you to reach these target levels. Try not to worry too much. Any movement towards these targets should be considered beneficial for your health.

How do I get my cholesterol levels tested?

Ask your doctor to do a simple blood test. This usually only takes a few minutes


2. The National Heart Foundation of Australia and the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand, Position Statement on Lipid Management – 2005.

Related posts