To interpret a cholesterol chart, read the levels for LDL and HDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides, states the American Heart Association. Eat a healthy diet to reduce cholesterol levels. There are specific ranges for cholesterol, such as desirable, borderline risk, high risk and very high risk.
Desirable total cholesterol levels are less than 200 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL; 200 to 239 mg/dL is borderline high risk, and anything above 240 mg/dL is very high risk, according to the American Heart Association. Desirable LDL cholesterol levels are less than 100 mg/dL; 100 to 129 is very good, 130 to 159 is borderline high, 160 to 189 is high risk, and 190 or more is very high risk. Desirable HDL is 60 mg/dL or above, which provides some protection against heart disease. Men at less than 50 mg/dL are at a very high risk for heart disease. Desirable triglyceride levels are less than 150 mg/dL, while 150 to 199 mg/dL is borderline high risk, and 200 to 499 mg/dL is high risk. Very high risk is 500 mg/dL or more.
Consuming foods high in saturated fat or trans fats increases the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood, explains the American Heart Association. With a family history of high blood pressure, lifestyle modifications such as more exercise and a healthy diet are not always enough. Some patients may have other risk factors that increase the potential for a cardiac event, notes WebMD.