Cholesterol Levels By Age: Everything You Need To Know

cholesterol levels

In this article, we’ll discuss cholesterol levels by age – for both adults and children.


High cholesterol, especially Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) and very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), is bad for health. Cholesterol level differs from a person’s gender, weight, and age. As you progress by age, your body tends to form more cholesterol.

This necessitates that adults must keep a regular check on their cholesterol levels. Doctors recommend that adults should get cholesterol tests every 4 to 6 years. The test measures HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol), and total cholesterol.

Also Read: Good Vs Bad Cholesterol

You must try to maintain optimum levels of all the cholesterol. LDL cholesterol levels should be low. HDL cholesterol should be higher so that you can protect yourself from developing cardiovascular conditions, including risks to strokes and heart attacks.

Unusually high level of cholesterol causes reduced blood flow to the heart, which increases the risk of heart attacks. Similarly, the blood flow to the brain also reduces, increases the risk of stroke.

Cholesterol Levels By Age

The below post discusses the factors that influence the cholesterol level in children and adults. It also presents facts about recommended levels of cholesterol that you must maintain. The post further speaks about tips, lifestyle and dietary changes, and medications that may help the lower high level of bad cholesterol, and increase the level of HDL (good) cholesterol.

1. What’s The Relation Between Cholesterol And Age?

It is best to manage cholesterol levels from early life. As you age, it gets difficult to balance the level of unmanaged cholesterol. The level of it tends to go higher with age. You must take steps early in life to prevent cholesterol from crossing dangerous levels. This can safeguard you against several diseases. Years of unmanaged cholesterol is hard to take care of and lead to heart issues.

  • Women tend to have lower levels of cholesterol as compared to men.
  • A man’s level of cholesterol usually increases with age.
  • Women too must be careful about their levels, as these may increase after menopause.
  • Children are less probable of developing high levels of cholesterol. They may have the levels checked only once or twice before they reach the age of 18.
  • If children have risk factors to high levels of cholesterol, then it must be checked regularly.

2. What’s Recommended Level?

In typical adults, healthy levels of cholesterol do not differ by a great margin. Variations in ideal levels change because of health problems and other considerations.

2.1. For Adults

  • In adults, the desirable level of total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL (milligrams per decilitre). The high level is 240 mg/dL and higher. Borderline high-level reading is between 200 and 239 mg/dL.
  • For adults, the desirable level of LDL must be lower than 100 mg/dL. The acceptable level for those who do not have any health issues is between 100 to 129 mg/dL. The same may be more for those with heart disease risk or cardiovascular disease. Borderline high is between 130 to 159 mg/dL. The high level is 160 to 189. A very high level is 190 mg/dL or higher.
  • In adults, HDL levels should be higher. A level of 40 mg/dL poses a major risk to heart disease. Borderline low is between 41 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL. The optimal level is 60 mg/dL or higher.

2.2. For Children

  • In children, the ideal range of total cholesterol must be less than 170 mg/dL. A reading between 170 and 199 mg/dL is borderline high. A reading over 200 is too high.
  • The LDL cholesterol level in children must be lower than that in an adult. The suitable range of this cholesterol must be less than 110 mg/dL in children. 110 to 129 mg/dL is borderline high and over 130 mg/dL is high.

3. Tips For Maintaining A Balance

Below-mentioned is some of the things to follow to balance the cholesterol levels:

  • Seeing a doctor for cholesterol levels is a must for those who are overweight. Especially, cholesterol check is a must for those who have a medical history of heart disease. It is also important if the family shows a history of cardiovascular disease.
  • Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly will help keep the level of cholesterol in check for children and adults. Sticking to an active lifestyle also helps.
  • Overweight people must try to avoid processed foods. In severe cases, medications may help to reduce the level of high cholesterol.

4. Lifestyle Changes

Below mentioned are a few lifestyle changes to follow to keep the level of bad cholesterol(LDL and VLDL) in check:

  • Aim to exercise every day for at least 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Engage in moderate cardiovascular exercises such as swimming, dancing, jogging, and biking at least 5 days a week.
  • Smoking decreases the level of HDL. Thus, if you smoke, then you must try quitting it.
  • If you have a family history of obesity and diabetes, then keep a check on the cholesterol levels.
  • Add more fiber to your diet, such as whole grains. Include healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, and olive oil.
  • Limit the intake of alcohol or avoid consumption of alcohol altogether. Drinking too much alcohol can lead the level of triglyceride fats to increase in the blood. This may cause atrial fibrillation and hypertension.
  • Reduce the intake of high-saturated fatty foods such as high-fat red meats, whole milk, cheese, etc.
  • Get physically active to burn more calories. Try and reduce stress and anxiety levels as these may trigger otherwise unhealthy addictions to alcohol and junk food items.

5. Treatment Options

Below-mentioned is the treatments for high cholesterol levels:

  • Therapeutic lifestyle changes will definitely help to decrease high levels of cholesterol. These changes include exercise, weight management, and diet.
  • Another option is cholesterol medication, especially statins to lower the level of cholesterol.
  • The doctor may advise following a diet consisting of food items low in saturated and trans fats. Foods high in protein and soluble fibers could be recommended to lower build-up caused in arteries.
  • You need to include more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fishes, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and skinless poultry.
  • Overweight people need to reduce their weight. Proper weight management will help lower high triglyceride levels and improve HDL levels.

6. Medications

If lifestyle and dietary changes are unable to lower the level of high cholesterol, then medications may work.

There are several medicines, out of which doctors may recommend one that will suit you:

  • The medicine, statin helps the liver to block the production of cholesterol.
  • There are a few vitamin supplements that stop the liver from reducing HDL. These also lower triglycerides.
  • The medication, bile acid sequestrants reduces the body’s ability to absorb fats from foods.
  • Supplements that provide omega-3 fatty acids raise the level of good cholesterol, HDL. These also lower the level of triglycerides.
  • Then there are cholesterol absorption inhibitors that lower triglycerides in the blood. These also function as bile acid sequestrates.

To Conclude

Cholesterol level varies in people depending on their age, gender, weight, health conditions, and many other factors. You must try and maintain the ideal level of each type of cholesterol. It is wiser to have a higher level of high-density lipoprotein and keep LDL and VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein) within the optimum level.

There are several dietary and lifestyle changes that will help maintain a balance in the levels. In some cases, you may need the help of medications and supplements.