As with total cholesterol, the higher your LDL level is, the higher your risk for heart disease. However, LDL level is a better predictor of heart attack risk than total blood cholesterol is.
According to the American Heart Association, most people with a total blood cholesterol of 200 mg/dL will have an LDL of about 130 mg/dL. A person who has a total blood cholesterol of 240 mg/dL probably has an LDL of about 160 mg/dL. These are averages only. Your own LDL cholesterol may be higher or lower.
If you do not have heart disease or diabetes and you have fewer than two risk factors for heart disease, your LDL level should be less than 160 mg/dL.
If you do not have heart disease or diabetes but have two or more risk factors for heart disease and your 10-year risk of having a heart attack is 20% or less, your LDL level should be less than 130 mg/dL.
If you’ve had angina, heart attack, balloon angioplasty, bypass surgery, stroke, or other evidence of atherosclerosis, if you have diabetes, or if your 10-year risk of having a heart attack is greater than 20%, your LDL level should be less than 100 mg/dL.