Online charts of optimal cholesterol levels are available at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and eMedicineHealth. The charts also feature cholesterol levels that may increase or lower the risk of developing cardiac diseases.
Total cholesterol levels in the blood are directly correlated to the likelihood of acquiring heart diseases. The tables at NHLBI and eMedicineHealth show that healthy levels are below 200 mg/dL. Individuals with total cholesterol levels measuring 240 mg/dL or above, are significantly at higher risk for stroke and heart attack.
Cholesterol is generally classified into two types: high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, and low-density lipoprotein, or LDL. HDL is referred to as "good" cholesterol while LDL is known as "bad" cholesterol. HDL levels that are 60 mg/dL or above are considered desirable levels and lower the chance of getting heart problems. Strongly recommended LDL levels are below 100 mg/dL.