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Normal LDL cholesterol level in the blood

Blood test
Normal LDL cholesterol level in the blood
Last update: 27/04/2020

What is the normal LDL cholesterol level in the blood?

Adults: 25 - 100 mg/dl
Adolescents: 25 - 120 mg/dl
Children: 25 - 110 mg/dl

Desirable level: <130 mg/dl
Limit level: 130 - 159 mg/dl
High risk: >160 mg/dl
Patients with coronary heart disease <100 mg/dl

Reference ranges are always related to total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

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

Adults: 0.64 - 2.58 mmol/l
Adolescents: 0.64 - 3.10 mmol/l
Children: 0.64 - 2.84 mmol/l

Why normal levels can differ across different labs?

Each laboratory must establish its own normal ranges for LDL 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.

What is the role of LDL cholesterol in the blood?

LDL cholesterol is also known as the “Bad” cholesterol because it is the responsible to carry cholesterol from the liver to the bloodstream. LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) binds to cholesterol for that transport.

Cholesterol is an essential type of fat for the body's cells because it is part of the cell membrane. Cholesterol is also the precursor of vitamin D, myelin and some hormones.

That is the reason why cholesterol is present in the bloodstream. The cholesterol must be available to the cells to perform all those tasks.

What is the LDL cholesterol blood test for?

Cholesterol blood test is used as a cardiovascular risk factor. If LDL cholesterol is high the risk of suffering a cardiovascular disease increases.

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

Actually, LDL cholesterol is not measured in a blood test. It is estimated with the next formulas:

  • Friedewald formula:
    • LDL (mg/dL) = Total Cholesterol - HDL – (Triglycerides/5.0)
    • Iranian formula:
      • LDL (mg/dL)= (Total Cholesterol /1.19) + (Triglycerides /1.9) – (HDL/1.1) – 38

    LDL cholesterol is also called the “Bad” cholesterol because an excessive LDL cholesterol in the blood is a key contributor to atherosclerosis (artery-clogging plaques). Those plaques may harden and narrow the arteries, blocking the bloodstream. The cholesterol can accumulate and set the stage for a heart attack or a stroke.

    The risk of suffering a cardiovascular disease increases if there are other cardiovascular risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or smoking.

    A low level of LDL cholesterol in the blood is positive in general terms. The main reason is an excess of anti-cholesterol drugs. It some cases it can be due to genetic diseases that prevents the cholesterol formation (ex. Abetalipoproteinemia) but it is not common.

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

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Which values are considered a normal LDL 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.

LDL Cholesterol
25 mg/dl26 mg/dl27 mg/dl28 mg/dl29 mg/dl30 mg/dl31 mg/dl32 mg/dl
33 mg/dl34 mg/dl35 mg/dl36 mg/dl37 mg/dl38 mg/dl39 mg/dl40 mg/dl
41 mg/dl42 mg/dl43 mg/dl44 mg/dl45 mg/dl46 mg/dl47 mg/dl48 mg/dl
49 mg/dl50 mg/dl51 mg/dl52 mg/dl53 mg/dl54 mg/dl55 mg/dl56 mg/dl
57 mg/dl58 mg/dl59 mg/dl60 mg/dl61 mg/dl62 mg/dl63 mg/dl64 mg/dl
65 mg/dl66 mg/dl67 mg/dl68 mg/dl69 mg/dl70 mg/dl71 mg/dl72 mg/dl
73 mg/dl74 mg/dl75 mg/dl76 mg/dl77 mg/dl78 mg/dl79 mg/dl80 mg/dl
81 mg/dl82 mg/dl83 mg/dl84 mg/dl85 mg/dl86 mg/dl87 mg/dl88 mg/dl
89 mg/dl90 mg/dl91 mg/dl92 mg/dl93 mg/dl94 mg/dl95 mg/dl96 mg/dl
97 mg/dl98 mg/dl99 mg/dl100 mg/dl    
Medically reviewed by Javier Muga Bustamante Ph.D. on 27/04/2020


  • Concise Book of Medical Laboratory Technology: Methods and Interpretations. 2nd Edition. 2015. Ramnik Sood. ISBN: 978-93-5152-333-8. Pag. 487.
  • 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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