HDL Cholesterol and LDL Cholesterol

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Cholesterol Effect

The two basic types of cholesterol with which we are concerned with are LDL and HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol (BAD cholesterol) causes plaque build up on the inside walls of arteries. Over time, this plaque buildup leads to coronary artery disease.1 HDL cholesterol (GOOD cholesterol) removes LDL cholesterol from the blood. HDL cholesterol prevents plaque build up. Thus, it protects against coronary artery disease.For a comprehensive overview of cholesterol, see EMG’s Cholesterol Section.


A high HDL cholesterol level and a low LDL cholesterol level are desired to protect against cardiovascular disease. The charts below provide HDL and LDL numbers and descriptions as provided by the American Heart Association.



HDL Cholesterol

HDL Cholesterol (mg/dL)


>60 Excellent
40 – 59 Good
<40 Poor

LDL Cholesterol

LDL Cholesterol (mg/dL)


<70 Ideal for Men at HIGH Risk for Heart Disease
<100 Ideal for Men at Risk for Heart Disease
100 – 129 Near Ideal
130 – 159 Borderline High
160 – 189 High
> 190 Very High

EMG Health Numbers Homepage: Health Numbers

External Resources: American Heart Association: Cholesterol

Updated: May 12, 2015


1. Devkota B. HDL Cholesterol. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2087757-overview#aw2aab6b2: Medscape Reference; 2012.
2. Mir FA. LDL Cholesterol. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2087735-overview#aw2aab6b2: Medscape Reference; 2012.