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LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol

LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is "bad" cholesterol, which carries mostly fat and only a small amount of protein from the liver to other parts of the body. A high LDL cholesterol level is considered a risk factor for coronary artery disease (CAD) because, under certain conditions, it can cause hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).

Cholesterol is measured either in millimoles per litre of blood (mmol/L) or in milligrams per decilitre of blood (mg/dL).

  • An LDL cholesterol level of less than less than 2.6 mmol/L (100 mg/dL) is considered optimal.
  • 2.6 to 3.4 (100 to 129) is considered near optimal.
  • 3.5 to 4.1 (130 to 159) is considered borderline high.
  • 4.2 to 4.9 (160 to 189) is considered high.
  • 5.0 and above (190) is considered very high.

People who have at least a moderate risk for developing heart disease (especially those who have diabetes) may benefit from lowering their LDL cholesterol levels. The specific target LDL level depends on a person's number and type of risk factors.