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Total Cholesterol

Total cholesterol is the sum of all cholesterol measured in a person's blood. This total includes high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is sometimes called the "good cholesterol," and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), sometimes called the "bad cholesterol," and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL).

Cholesterol is measured either in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL) or in millimoles per liter of blood (mmol/L).

  • A total cholesterol level of less than 200 mg/dL (5.17 mmol/L) is desirable.
  • 200 to 239 mg/dL (5.17 to 6.18 mmol/L) is considered borderline high cholesterol.
  • 240 mg/dL (6.21 mmol/L) or higher is considered high cholesterol.

The ratio of total cholesterol to "good" (HDL) cholesterol is also important, especially if total cholesterol is high.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Carl Orringer, MD - Cardiology, Clinical Lipidology
Last Revised July 13, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 13, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.