If you\u2019re having a cholesterol test soon, you might wonder what to expect when you get your results. If they\u2019re high, will this mean a lifetime of medicine? Are there other kinds of treatments?\nYou might be surprised to learn that some people can lower cholesterol without medication. It depends on your risk factors for heart disease, and what your doctor thinks is best for you.\nLearn more about what your numbers mean and what options you might have for keeping your cholesterol in a healthy range.\nWhat Do the Cholesterol Numbers Mean?\nYour total cholesterol level shows how much cholesterol you have in your blood, and your test results will fall into one of these ranges:\n\n200 mg\/dL or lower = normal\n200 \u2013 239 mg\/dL = borderline high\n240 mg\/dL or higher = high\n\nYour total number includes:\n\nHDL, or \u201cgood\u201d cholesterol. HDL helps take away LDL, or \u201cbad\u201d cholesterol, from your blood, so a higher number is better.\nLDL, or \u201cbad\u201d cholesterol. LDL is linked to the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels, so a lower number is better.\nTriglycerides, a type of fat. Triglycerides are also linked to the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels, so a lower number is better.\n\nAm I at Risk for Heart Disease?\nIf your cholesterol numbers are in the normal range, you should keep eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and practicing other healthy habits to make sure your numbers stay low. Keeping your cholesterol in a healthy range is one of many things you can do to keep your risk for heart disease low.\nIf your numbers are borderline high, or high, your risk for heart disease is increased. When you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can build up in your blood vessels as\u00a0plaque. Over time, plaque can make your blood vessels hard, narrow, or become completely blocked, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.\nWhat Are My High Cholesterol Treatment Options?\nThe good news is that high cholesterol can be treated. In order to create the best treatment plan for you, your doctor will take into account your general health, habits, risk factors, and family history. Many people can lower their numbers through lifestyle changes, including:\n\nEating heart-healthy foods that are low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium and high in fiber, like fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains.\nGetting regular exercise, which can help control weight, raise HDL, and lower LDL and triglycerides.\n\nIf these changes aren\u2019t enough to get your numbers into a healthy range, your doctor might prescribe medication. It\u2019s very important to stay on your treatment plan, and to practice healthy habits, whether your doctor prescribes medicine or not.\nTo learn more about cholesterol, heart disease, and how to keep your risks low, visit the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute or call 1-855-UPMC-HVI.