When measuring cholesterol levels, the total score is the sum of the HDL and LDL cholesterol together with 20 percent of your triglyceride level.
When measuring cholesterol levels, the total score is the sum of the HDL and LDL cholesterol together with 20 percent of your triglyceride level. The NHS has guidelines for recommended cholesterol levels, however on an individual level other factors such as gender and age needs to be taken into consideration. When checking your cholesterol, your GP will explain the result and offer advice on how to take action accordingly.
The NHS recommends that the total cholesterol levels should be:
- 5 mmol/l or less for healthy adults
- 4 mmol/l or less if at risk.
The LDL cholesterol level should be:
- 3 mmol/l or under for healthy adults
- 2 mmol/l or under for those at risk.
Healthy cholesterol levels
For HDL cholesterol, higher levels are better. Ideally the HDL cholesterol should be above 1 mmol/l, lower levels can put you at higher risk for heart disease.
It is also important to look at the ratio between HDL cholesterol and total cholesterol. Health care professionals calculate the ratio by dividing total cholesterol with HDL cholesterol level. A good ratio is less than 3,5 to 1. A higher ratio means an increased risk of heart disease.
Checking your cholesterol levels
It is important to understand when and how often you should have your cholesterol levels checked.
According to NHS recommendations, the recommendations are:
- Every 5 years if you are in the age of 40 to 75
- Every 12 months if you are taking cholesterol lowering medication
- Children of parents with inherited high cholesterol (FH) – from the age of 10
Cholesterol checks are usually done at your GP service. A blood sample is taken to test all cholesterol levels and triglycerides. You may be asked not to eat for 10-12 hours prior to the test, usually overnight. This ensures that any eaten food doesn’t affect the result.
Do you have high cholesterol levels?
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