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What are healthy levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol?

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Quick Answer

Healthy levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol are less than 100 for LDL and more than 40 for HDL, according to MedlinePlus. The lower the LDL level, the better. The higher the HDL level, the better.

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Full Answer

Low-density cholesterol (LDL) is the bad cholesterol that contributes to the buildup of plaque and blockage of the arteries. A level of less than 100 is optimal for heart health, a level of 100 to 129 is above optimal, and a level of 130 to 159 is borderline high, MedlinePlus says. An LDL level of 160 to 189 is high, and a level of 190 or more indicates a very high risk for cardiovascular disease.

High-density cholesterol (HDL) is the good cholesterol that helps remove cholesterol from arteries and is important for heart health. A level of less than 40 indicates a major risk for heart disease, whereas a level of 60 or higher is considered optimal to protect against heart disease, MedlinePlus says. Regular physical activity can help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol levels. Reducing intake of saturated fat in the diet and maintaining a healthy weight can also help lower LDL cholesterol, increase HDL cholesterol and decrease risk for heart disease.

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