When it comes to cholesterol, how high is too high? This depends on your risk of developing heart disease. When deciding what cholesterol levels are right for you and what the treatment plan should be, your doctor will consider a number of factors that affect your risk of developing heart disease, such as your age, your medical conditions, and whether you smoke.

If you are at a low risk of developing heart disease, your doctor will recommend starting treatment when your cholesterol levels are higher than 5 mmol/L (or 194 mg/dL in American units*).

If your risk of developing heart disease is particularly high, your doctor may recommend treatment at even lower cholesterol levels. See Are you at risk of high cholesterol? for more information.

Not sure about your cholesterol values? Talk to your doctor to see whether your cholesterol is within a healthy range. If your cholesterol level is high, ask your doctor if you should start treatment.

* To convert from Canadian units to American ones, multiply Canadian values by 38.7 to get American values. To convert the other way, divide the American units by 38.7 to get the Canadian values.