A total cholesterol of less than 180 milligrams per deciliter of blood is normal, according to the American Heart Association. This is calculated by adding up HDL, LDL and 20 percent of triglyceride levels.
HDL is good cholesterol, of which higher levels are better, as explained by the American Heart Association. LDL is bad cholesterol, and lower levels are healthier. The normal amount of triglyceride, which is the most common type of bodily fat, varies by age and sex. A high triglyceride level, combined with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol, increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.