Blood test

High HDL cholesterol level in the blood

Blood test
High HDL cholesterol level in the blood
Last update: 24/04/2020

What is high HDL cholesterol level in the blood called?

  • HDL hypercholesterolemia

What is the normal HDL cholesterol level in the blood?

If you need to know which are the HDL cholesterol reference ranges or you require more information about the role of HDL cholesterol in the blood, you can visit normal HDL cholesterol level in the blood

What does a high HDL cholesterol level in the blood mean?

A high HDL cholesterol in the blood over 82 mg/dl is not common. In general, a high HDL cholesterol level, also known as “Good” cholesterol, is positive because HDL cholesterol eliminate cholesterol from the bloodstream and transport it to the liver.

However, when HDL cholesterol is very high, the cycle reverts and the cholesterol is sent back to the bloodstream and the risk to develop a cardiovascular disease increases.

The main causes for a HDL cholesterol level above the normal range are:

  • Alcohol abuse.
  • Excessive anaerobic exercise.
  • Excessive intake of vitamin B3, also called niacin or nicotinic acid.
  • Unbalanced diet with low carbohydrate intake.
  • Genetic disorder (very rare).

HDL Cholesterol values are usually given in mg/dl but sometimes you can see those values in mmol/l following the International System of Units (SI). In case your values are in mmol/l you can convert them using this tool:

  • Moderate HDL hypercholesterolemia (82 - 95 mg/dl in adults):

    HDL cholesterol level is moderately high and it requires a follow-up. It is advisable that you cut down on the alcohol intake if you take too much alcohol and you should reduce your physical activity if it is excessive.

    If you are taking medication to reduce total cholesterol or triglycerides you should visit your doctor and tell him about it. Perhaps, the present dose is inadequate.

  • Marked HDL hypercholesterolemia (>95 mg/dl in adults):

    The HDL cholesterol level is very high and may damage your health. With such a high value the risk of developing atherosclerosis increases as well as the possibility to suffer a cardiovascular disease.

    You should visit your doctor. He will consider your alcohol intake, if you are doing too much exercise, following an unbalanced diet or taking any drug that can alter your HDL cholesterol.

    A last possibility to consider is a genetic disorder, such as hyperalphaproteinemia or hepatic lipase deficiency. Talk to your doctor and he will decide if it is adequate to perform a genetic test.

Which factors can raise the HDL cholesterol level in the blood?

There are some health circumstances or drugs than can raise your HDL cholesterol level in the blood:

  • Moderate alcohol consumption
  • Drugs
    • Alpha blocker
    • Antiepileptic drugs
      • Phenytoin
    • Statin
    • Fibrate
      • Bezafibrate
      • Clofibrate
      • Fenofibrate
      • Gemfibrozil
    • Niacin

Which diseases can raise your HDL cholesterol level in the blood?

There are many medical diseases why the HDL cholesterol level in the blood can be higher than normal:

  • Familial hyperalphalipoproteinemia
  • Hepatic lipase deficiency

What can I do to lower the HDL cholesterol level in the blood?

If your HDL cholesterol is a bit high you can consider the following tips:

  • Take a look at the medication you are taking to reduce total cholesterol. Statins, niacin or fibrates can increase the HDL cholesterol level. Talk to your doctor about that possibility.
  • Cut down on the intake of Omega-3 acids present in olive oil and fish (salmon, tuna, trout, sardines).
  • Cancel intense physical exercise.

Where can I find more information about HDL cholesterol level in the blood?

You can visit our pages about:

Which values are considered a high HDL cholesterol level in the blood?

The following values are considered to be above the normal range:

IMPORTANT: These levels are expressed in mg/dl. They are an example of a healthy man of about 45 years old with no known disease and not taking any medication. The ranges can be different depending on the laboratory or on your personal circumstances.

HDL Cholesterol
Marked HDL hypercholesterolemia
83 mg/dl84 mg/dl85 mg/dl86 mg/dl87 mg/dl88 mg/dl89 mg/dl90 mg/dl
91 mg/dl92 mg/dl93 mg/dl94 mg/dl95 mg/dl   
Moderate HDL hypercholesterolemia
96 mg/dl97 mg/dl98 mg/dl99 mg/dl100 mg/dl101 mg/dl102 mg/dl103 mg/dl
104 mg/dl105 mg/dl106 mg/dl107 mg/dl108 mg/dl109 mg/dl110 mg/dl111 mg/dl
112 mg/dl113 mg/dl114 mg/dl115 mg/dl116 mg/dl117 mg/dl118 mg/dl119 mg/dl
120 mg/dl121 mg/dl122 mg/dl123 mg/dl124 mg/dl125 mg/dl126 mg/dl127 mg/dl
128 mg/dl129 mg/dl130 mg/dl131 mg/dl132 mg/dl133 mg/dl134 mg/dl135 mg/dl
136 mg/dl137 mg/dl138 mg/dl139 mg/dl140 mg/dl141 mg/dl142 mg/dl143 mg/dl
144 mg/dl145 mg/dl146 mg/dl147 mg/dl148 mg/dl149 mg/dl150 mg/dl 
Medically reviewed by Javier Muga Bustamante Ph.D. on 24/04/2020


  • Concise Book of Medical Laboratory Technology: Methods and Interpretations. 2nd Edition. 2015. Ramnik Sood. ISBN: 978-93-5152-333-8. Pag. 484.
  • Tietz. Fundamentals of Clinical Chemistry. Carl A. Burtis, Edward R. Ashwood, David E. Bruns, Barbara G. Sawyer. WB Saunders Company, 2008. Pag 402. ISBN: 978-0-7216-3865-2.

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