Cholesterol levels - very confused

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2003
Cholesterol levels - very confused
Sun, 10-25-2009 - 10:05pm

In August, I had my annual company physical.

Avatar for i_florida04
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2004
Mon, 10-26-2009 - 5:30am


Normal results vary, but in general are:

  • Male: 13.8 to 17.2 gm/dL
  • Female: 12.1 to 15.1 gm/dL

Note: gm/dL = grams per deciliter

Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.

What abnormal results mean

Lower-than-normal hemoglobin may be due to:

What do the numbers mean?

Total cholesterol is an important measure of both bad and good cholesterol. Other lab tests are done to measure specific amounts of good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol. A cholesterol breakdown including LDL and HDL is preferred.

The total cholesterol values listed below are used to target therapy:

  • Desirable: Under 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
  • Borderline high: 200 to 239 mg/dL
  • High risk: 240 mg/dL and higher

The American Heart Association uses the following standards when evaluating test results:

Total cholesterol in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL):
Less than 200 is desirable
200 to 239 is borderline high
240 and above is high

LDL cholesterol level (mg/dl):
Less than 100 is optimal
100 to 129 is near optimal/above optimal
130 to 159 is borderline high
160 to 189 is high
190 and above is very high

HDL cholesterol level (mg/dL)*:
Less than 40 mg/dL is low in men and less than 50 mg/dL is low in women
60 mg/dL or more helps lower your risk for heart disease
*Higher HDL numbers are better

Triglycerides (mg/dL):
150 to 199 mg/dL is borderline
200 mg/dL or more is high

What might an undesirable result indicate?

High levels may mean an increased risk of:

  • Coronary heart disease

"I am concerned, because everything I have read says that if the HDL is below 50 for a woman, it is a high risk for heart disease.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Mon, 10-26-2009 - 2:17pm


Hi and welcome!! Your levels dropping that much in a 2 month period is possible, of course, but not too probable from where I stand. I'm hesitant to say it, but I think maybe your second tests are not accurate. Heart disease is the #1 killer of women and it can be diagnosed at a young age. It doesn't discriminate between age, race or lifestyle.

My advice is too seek yet another series of tests and then compare them to your first and second ones. Should your primary doctor suggest that you may be susceptible to heart issues, see a cardiologist and go from there. Amazing things are being done in science and health. I don't think waiting until December is going to make much of a impact on things, but follow your gut feeling on this one. If you're too uncomfortable with waiting, then see if you can do a follow-up sooner.

Let us know what transpires! My best wishes and my



iVillage Member
Registered: 08-11-2003
Mon, 10-26-2009 - 4:23pm
Thank you for your reply.