According to Mayo Clinic, total cholesterol levels greater than 240 are considered high. Total cholesterol numbers that fall between 200 and 239 are considered borderline whereas numbers below 200 are considered desirable. Total cholesterol is calculated by combining the numbers of both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol.
Optimal bad cholesterol levels vary according to an individual's risk for heart disease. According to Mayo Clinic, people who are at very high risk for heart disease should have LDL levels lower than 70. Typically, however, LDL levels above 160 are considered high, and levels above 190 are considered very high for otherwise healthy individuals.