Cholesterol and Triglycerides Tests
How It Feels
The blood sample is taken from a vein in
your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight.
You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or
There is very little chance of a problem from
having blood sample taken from a vein.
- You may get a small bruise at the site. You can lower the chance
of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several minutes.
- In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood sample
is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used several
times a day to treat this.
- Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for people with bleeding
warfarin (Coumadin), and other
blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or
clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell your health
professional before your blood sample is taken.
Cholesterol and triglyceride tests are
blood tests that measure the total amount of fatty substances (cholesterol and
triglycerides) in the blood.
usually available within 24 hours.
The values listed here are for adult cholesterol levels. Desirable cholesterol and triglyceride levels are slightly different for children and teens. For more information, see Cholesterol in Children and Teens.
Cholesterol and triglycerides1
- 200–239 mg/dL
- 5.2–6.2 mmol/L
- 240 mg/dL or higher
- 6.2 mmol/L or higher
- 60 mg/dL or higher
- 1.6 mmol/L or higher
- 40–60 mg/dL
- 1.0–1.6 mmol/L
- Less than 40 mg/dL
- Less than 1.0 mmol/L
- Less than 100 mg/dL (less than 70 mg/dL for people at high risk for a heart attack)
- Less than 2.6 mmol/L (less than 1.8 mmol/L for people at high risk for a heart attack)
- 100–129 mg/dL
- 2.6–3.3 mmol/L
- 130–159 mg/dL
- 3.4–4.1 mmol/L
- 160–189 mg/dL
- 4.1-4.9 mmol/L or higher
- 190 mg/dL or higher
- 4.9 mmol/L or higher
- 30 mg/dL or less
- 0.78 mmol/L or less
- Less than 150 mg/dL
- Less than 1.7 mmol/L
- 150–199 mg/dL
- 1.7–2.3 mmol/L
- 200-499 mg/dL
- 2.3-5.6 mmol/L
- 500 mg/dL or higher
- 5.6 mmol/L or higher
- An HDL level of 60 mg/dL (1.5 mmol/L) or higher is linked with a lower risk of
- An HDL cholesterol level less than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L) raises
your risk for developing heart disease, especially if you also have high total
- The ratio of total cholesterol to "good" (HDL) cholesterol may be
important, especially if total cholesterol is high.
- Very high cholesterol and triglyceride levels may be caused by an
inherited form of high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia or
- Talk with your doctor about other things that raise
your risk of heart problems. Your doctor may change your goals for cholesterol
levels if you have other risk factors for coronary artery disease, such as:
- High blood pressure.
- Family history of early CAD.
- You are a man and older than 45, or you are a woman and older
- If you have a very high risk of having a heart
attack, your doctor may want your LDL level to be less than 70 mg/dL.
- Interactive Tool: Are You at Risk for a Heart Attack?