Medical Surgical Labs Cholesterol Labs #1


A client has cholesterol levels of total cholesterol 221 mg/dL, HDL 103 mg/dL, triglycerides 149 mg/dL and LDL 122 mg/dL. Choose the normal cholesterol value.


  1. Total cholesterol
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the total cholesterol is over 200 mg/dL. A total cholesterol over 200 is considered high.

  2. HDL
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because the HDL level is over 40. HDL is considered the “healthy” cholesterol. It picks up excess cholesterol in the blood and takes it back to the liver where it is removed from the body. The higher it is, the lower the risk for heart disease or stroke.

  3. Triglycerides
    • Rationale:

      This answer is correct because the client’s triglycerides are under 150 mg/dL. Triglycerides is a type of fat in the blood. When more calories are consumed than the body can use, it turns into triglycerides.

  4. LDL
    • Rationale:

      This answer is not correct because the LDL is over 100 mg/dL. LDL is considered the “lousy” cholesterol. Increased levels of LDL build up within the walls of the blood vessels and can cause a heart attack or stroke.


Cholesterol is made by the liver to protect nerves but our bodies also receive cholesterol from foods that we eat. Normal cholesterol levels are as follows: Total cholesterol would be under 200 mg/dL, HDL should be 40 mg/dL or more, triglycerides should be 150 mg/dL or less, and LDL 100 mg/dL or less.


Learning Outcomes

Total cholesterol should be under 200 mg/dL. Being overweight and inactive increases total cholesterol. Good cholesterol is known as HDL and should be over 40 mg/dL. It removes cholesterol from the bloodstream. LDL is known as the bad cholesterol. Anything over 100 can cause build up of LDL within blood vessels and cause narrowing or clots. Triglycerides are caused by consuming too many calories. Triglycerides should be 150 mg/dL or less.

Test Taking Tip

When you see HDL, think of the “H” as “healthy” or “happy” cholesterol. It is good for you. When you see LDL, think of the “L” as “lousy” cholesterol. It is bad for you.

Video Rationale