Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals | Kathy Kliebert, Secretary

Statewide Initiatives

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Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of arteries. High blood pressure often has no signs or symptoms. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to be tested for it.

Having your blood pressure tested is quick and easy. It is recorded as two numbers systolic pressure "over" diastolic pressure. Both numbers in a blood pressure reading are important. As we grow older, systolic blood pressure is especially important.

Categories for Blood Pressure Levels in Adults

(Ages 18 Years and Older)

Blood Pressure Level (mmHg)



Normal < 120 < 80
Prehypertension 120-139 80-89

High Blood Pressure

Stage 1 Hypertension 140-159 90-99
Stage 2 Hypertension 160+ 100+

When systolic and diastolic blood pressures fall into different categories, the higher category should be used to classify blood pressure level. For example, 160/80 mmHg would be stage 2 hypertension (high blood pressure).

Blood Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy substance naturally produced by the liver in our bodies. It is essential for the production of hormones and Vitamin D and an integral part of cell membranes. The level produced by our bodies is safe in most people.

Here's what your numbers mean:


Less than 200 mg/ dL

Good for you! Try to keep it below this number.


200-239 mg/dL

Be on the alert! You are at risk for a heart attack. You need to make changes in your lifestyle.


240 mg/ dL or higher

Danger zone! You have a higher risk for a heart attack. Seek help from your doctor to lower your cholesterol level.

Click here for more information on cholesterol

Heart disease and stroke are especially a concern for women. Over 500,000 women are killed each year by these diseases. This is why the American Heart Association has developed these heart-healthy goals for women:

  • Total cholesterol goal should be less than 200 milligrams per deciliter. (A deciliter is 100 milliliters. A milliliter is one thousandth of a liter, or 0.0338 fluid ounce.)
  • Bad (LDL, or low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol goals (these vary): For people with no heart disease and one or no risk factors, the goal is less than 160 mg/dL; for most people with two or more risk factors, the goal is less than 130 mg/dL; and for people with heart disease or diabetes, the goal is less than 100 mg/dL.
  • Good (HDL, high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol 50 mg/dL or higher.
  • Triglycerides, less than 150 mg/dL.
  • Blood pressure, less than 120/80 mmHg.
  • Fasting glucose, less than 110 mg/dL.
  • Body mass index (BMI), less than 25.
  • Waist circumference, less than 35 inches.