Diagnosis of Lipid DisordersEn Español (Spanish Version)
Lipid disorders are diagnosed with blood tests that measure the level of cholesterol and triglyceride in the blood.
Cholesterol levels are checked with a blood test. A small blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. You may need to fast for several hours, usually overnight, before your blood is taken. The test measures levels of:
- Total cholesterol
- Unhealthy LDL cholesterol
- Healthy HDL cholesterol
The readings are interpreted as follows:
Total CholesterolLevelInterpretation<200 mg/dL (5.2 mmol/L)Desirable200-239 mg/dL (5.2-6.1 mmol/L)Borderline high240 mg/dL (6.2 mmol/L) and aboveHighLDL CholesterolLevelInterpretationLess than 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L)Optimal100-129 mg/dL (2.6-3.3 mmol/L)Near optimal/above optimal130-159 mg/dL (3.4-4.0 mmol/L)Borderline high160-189 mg/dL (4.1-4.8 mmol/L)High>190 mg/dL (4.9 mmol/L) and aboveVery highHDL CholesterolLevelInterpretation60 mg/dL (1.6 mmol/L) and aboveProtective against heart diseaseLess than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L)A major heart disease risk factorTriglyceridesLevelInterpretationLess than 150 mg/dL (1.7 mmol/L)Normal150-199 mg/dL (1.7-2.2 mmol/L)Borderline high200-499 mg/dL (2.3-5.6 mmol/L)High500 mg/dL (5.7 mmol/L) and aboveVery high
mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter of blood; (mmol/L= millimoles per liter of blood)
ATP III guidelines at a glance quick desk reference. National Cholesterol Education Program. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at:
. Updated May 2001. Accessed March 22, 2013.
Hypercholesterolemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
. Updated February 11, 2013. Accessed March 22, 2013.
Hypertriglyceridemia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
. Updated January 17, 2013. Accessed March 22, 2013.
Last Reviewed June 2013