A healthy result should fall into the range 39 - 180 mg/dL, or 1.01 - 4.66 mmol/L.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is a type of cholesterol and is typically assessed in a blood test called a lipid profile, which is used to monitor lipid levels and determine an individual’s risk of developing heart disease. Frequently referred to as “good” cholesterol, HDL removes excess cholesterol from tissues and carries it to the liver for disposal. It is recommended that a lipid profile be done every four to six years in all adults with no risk factors for heart disease.  A test for high-density lipoprotein cholesterol may be ordered more frequently for those who have one or more risk factors for heart disease, including:

            -Cigarette smoking

            -Being overweight or obese

            -Unhealthy diet

            -Being physically inactive

            -Age (men 45 years or older & women 55 years or older)

            -Hypertension (high blood pressure)

            -Family history of heart disease

            -Diabetes

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels may also be monitored to evaluate the success of lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise or cessation of cigarette smoking.  It is worth noting that in women, pregnancy may cause changes in HDL.

Normal Ranges:

HDL level in mg/dL

Risk of heart disease (independent of other risk factors)

Less than 40 (men) or less than (50) women

Above average

40-50 (men) or 50-59 (women)

Average

60 or higher

Less than average

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