According to Mayo Clinic, a total cholesterol level of 261 would be considered high for both adult men and women.
According to Mayo Clinic, a desirable total cholesterol level is lower than 200 mg/dL for both men and women.
While rare, a total cholesterol level could be considered too low. However, there isn't yet a consensus among medical professionals on what would constitute such a level.
Total cholesterol is typically determined by the formula HDL level + LDL level + 20% of triglycerides level.
A total cholesterol level of 261 may be written on a lab report as 261 mg/dL, or milligrams per deciliter. This means there would be 261 milligrams of total cholesterol per deciliter of blood. For reference, 1 deciliter is equal to 100 milliliters, or approximately 3.38 US fluid ounces.
Total cholesterol is typically measured by a blood test, also called a lipid profile or lipid panel, ordered by your doctor. To get an accurate reading, you're typically asked to fast for at least 8 to 10 hours prior to the test.
You can also measure total cholesterol levels at home with a digital cholesterol meter. To use one, you typically prick a finger with a lancet or fingerstick, add a drop of blood to a test strip, and insert the strip into the meter. While convenient, the reliability of readings from at-home cholesterol meters is debated.
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The information on this page is intended to be an educational reference and is not to be taken as medical advice. If you think you're having a medical emergency, please call 911 immediately.
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