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In medicine, many different bodily markers are measured in terms of how much is in the serum portion of the blood. In fact, you will often see serum cholesterol often just simply referred to as blood cholesterol. The total serum cholesterol level is the amount of cholesterol in the blood. A high serum cholesterol level is a concern, because it raises your risk of heart disease. When people talk about getting their cholesterol checked or finding out their cholesterol levels, they are usually referring to serum cholesterol levels. Within total serum cholesterol, there are a few measurements that give a more detailed view of whether your cholesterol levels are okay. Your doctor may talk about non-HDL cholesterol.
If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works. Cholesterol levels vary by age, weight, and gender. Cholesterol is measured in three categories. The struggle for most people is balancing these levels. While total and LDL cholesterol levels should be kept low, having more HDL cholesterol can offer some protection against a person developing heart-related illnesses including heart attacks and strokes. Cholesterol levels tend to increase with age.