Understanding your number
Your cholesterol test
High cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. It's important to know your level so that you can take action to improve or maintain your heart health.
You may not notice if you have high cholesterol, because you can’t feel it. Measuring your blood cholesterol involves a simple blood test; your GP or practice nurse can carry out the test for you. Adults aged 40-74 years. Find out more here, or ask you doctor. If you have a history of heart disease in the family or are concerned that you have high cholesterol, speak with your doctor who will be able to advise you.
What is a healthy cholesterol level?
Your cholesterol level is measured in units called millimoles per litre of blood, often shortened to mmol/L.
The government recommends that healthy adults should have a total cholesterol level below 5 mmol/L. In the UK, two out of three adults have a total cholesterol level of 5 mmol/L or above, and the average cholesterol level is about 5.7 mmol/L, which can be risk factor in the development of heart disease.
However, it’s important to remember that as well as your cholesterol level, other factors such as smoking and high blood pressure are risk factors for the development of heart disease.
The total cholesterol level includes LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). The risk of heart disease is particularly high if you have a high level of LDL cholesterol and a low level of HDL cholesterol.