Blood test

Normal HDL cholesterol level in the blood

Blood test
Normal HDL cholesterol level in the blood

What is the normal HDL cholesterol level in the blood?

Men: 35 - 82 mg/dl
Women: 40 - 82 mg/dl
Children: 35 - 82 mg/dl

In the International System of Units (SI), HDL cholesterol in the blood is measured in mmol/L. The normal HDL cholesterol levels in the blood in the SI are:

Men: Entre 0.9 - 2.12 mmol/l
Women: 1.03 - 2.12 mmol/l
Children: 0.9 - 2.12 mmol/l

Why normal levels can differ across different labs?

Each laboratory must establish its own normal ranges for HDL cholesterol in the blood. These ranges depend on the makeup of the local population, the technologies used and the accuracy of the measurement. There may be also slight differences in the normal levels, according to age, gender, race or ethnic origin, geographic region, diet, type of sample and other relevant status.

Your doctor will study the results along with your medical record, screenings, physical condition, symptoms and any other relevant information about your situation.

Women, children and black people have a higher HDL level in the blood than men, adults and white people respectively.

What is the role of HDL cholesterol in the blood?

HDL cholesterol is also known as the “Good” cholesterol because it is the responsible to remove the excess of cholesterol from the blood. HDL (high density lipoproteins) bound to cholesterol transport it from the bloodstream to the liver to be excreted into the bile.

That process prevents the formation of atheromatous plaques. An atheroma is an accumulation of cholesterol and other lipid compositions on the inner wall of vessels, which can finally narrow an artery. An atheroma may causes a cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, etc.).

What is the HDL cholesterol blood test for?

HDL cholesterol blood test is performed along with other lipid tests, including the measurement of total cholesterol LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides.

Generally speaking, a high HDL cholesterol level is positive. It reduces the risk of suffering a cardiovascular disease. On the contrary, a low HDL cholesterol level increases the risk of suffering a cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, etc.)

In very exceptional circumstances, the HDL values can be very high (over 82 mg/dl). That is not positive for the health.

Besides the HDL level in the blood, it is recommended to study the cholesterol ratio between the total cholesterol and the HDL cholesterol because a high level of HDL cholesterol will not be an enough protection against cardiovascular diseases if total cholesterol is very high.

Cholesterol ratio = Total Cholesterol/ HDL Cholesterol.

Cholesterol ratio should be below 4.5 in men and 4 in women.

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

You can visit our pages about:

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

The following values are considered to be normal values:

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
35 mg/dl36 mg/dl37 mg/dl38 mg/dl39 mg/dl40 mg/dl41 mg/dl42 mg/dl
43 mg/dl44 mg/dl45 mg/dl46 mg/dl47 mg/dl48 mg/dl49 mg/dl50 mg/dl
51 mg/dl52 mg/dl53 mg/dl54 mg/dl55 mg/dl56 mg/dl57 mg/dl58 mg/dl
59 mg/dl60 mg/dl61 mg/dl62 mg/dl63 mg/dl64 mg/dl65 mg/dl66 mg/dl
67 mg/dl68 mg/dl69 mg/dl70 mg/dl71 mg/dl72 mg/dl73 mg/dl74 mg/dl
75 mg/dl76 mg/dl77 mg/dl78 mg/dl79 mg/dl80 mg/dl81 mg/dl82 mg/dl
foto de Dr. Javier Muga Bustamante
Written by

Dr. Javier Muga Bustamante

Last update: 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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