How to Test Your HDL Cholesterol Levels and What They Mean

Cholesterol Levels

What is HDL Cholesterol and Why is it Important?

HDL cholesterol, also known as “good” cholesterol, is a type of fat found in the bloodstream. HDL cholesterol helps keep arteries clear of plaque and other heavy substances, helping to support a healthy heart and overall well-being. Measuring your HDL cholesterol is an important part of assessing your overall heart health.

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Understanding Your Test Results

When you have your HDL cholesterol tested, the results are expressed as a milligram per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood. Generally, the higher your HDL cholesterol, the better. Here is what a normal HDL cholesterol level looks like:

  • Less than 40 mg/dL is considered very low. People with this level are at higher risk for developing heart disease.
  • Between 40-60 mg/dL is considered average. People with a high HDL level may get additional protection from heart disease.
  • 60 mg/dL and above is considered high and provides the most protection from heart disease.

Healthy Habits that Can Help Improve Your HDL Cholesterol

There are a number of healthy habits you can adopt to help improve your HDL cholesterol levels, giving you the protection that a high HDL cholesterol level provides.

  • Consume a low-fat, heart-healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Maintain an active lifestyle with regular physical activity at least 3-5 times a week.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive drinking.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • See your doctor regularly for check-ups and blood tests to monitor your cholesterol levels.


Measuring your HDL cholesterol is an important step in assessing your overall heart health. Understanding what your results mean and adopting healthy habits can help you achieve the highest HDL cholesterol level possible and get the protection from heart disease that it offers. When it comes to cholesterol, it’s best to follow your doctor’s orders and be proactive about your health.