Cholesterol is a fatty material thatБs produced by your body and found in certain foods. While your body needs some cholesterol in order to function properly, having too much, or high cholesterol, raises your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Because of this risk, knowing your cholesterol levels is an important part of good heart health. The
recommends that adults have a every four to six years, starting at age 20. People with known high cholesterol levels or other chronic health conditions should get tested more often. To prepare for a cholesterol test, you may have heard that you should fast, or avoid eating. But is fasting really necessary? The answer is: maybe. Should you fast before your cholesterol test? The truth is, your cholesterol can be tested without fasting. However, that fasting ahead of time produces the most accurate results. This is because your low-density lipoproteins (LDL) Б also known as БbadБ cholesterol Б may be affected by what youБve recently eaten. Your levels of triglycerides (another type of fat in your blood) may also be affected by a recent meal. But you donБt need to decide whether or not to fast; your doctor will tell you if you need to. If they say you should fast, theyБll likely suggest that you avoid eating for before your test. For this reason, cholesterol tests are often scheduled in the morning. That way, you donБt have to spend a whole day hungry while waiting to have your test. How is cholesterol tested? Cholesterol is measured using a. A healthcare provider will draw your blood using a needle and collect it in a vial. This typically takes place at your doctorБs office or at a lab where the blood is then analyzed. The test only takes a couple of minutes and is relatively painless. However, you might have some soreness or bruising on your arm around the injection site. Your results will likely be available in a few days or within a couple of weeks. How should I prepare for my cholesterol test? According to the, doctors recommend drinking only water and avoiding food, other drinks, and certain medications in order to make sure your results are accurate.
What else should you avoid? Alcohol. Drinking within 24 hours before your test can affect your triglyceride levels. Your blood will likely be checked using a test called a total lipid profile. To understand your, youБll need to know the different types of cholesterol that the test measures and whatБs considered normal, potentially risky, and high. HereБs a breakdown of each type. Keep in mind that people who have conditions such as may need to aim for even lower numbers. Your total cholesterol number is the overall amount of cholesterol found in your blood. Acceptable: Borderline: High: LDL is the cholesterol that blocks your blood vessels and increases your risk of heart disease. Acceptable: Borderline: High: HDL is also called Бgood cholesterolБ and helps protect you from heart disease. This type removes excess cholesterol from your blood, helping to prevent buildup. The higher your HDL levels are, the better. Acceptable: Low: Ideal: High triglyceride levels coupled with high levels of LDL raise your risk for heart disease. Acceptable: Borderline: High: You want your cholesterol test results to fall within the acceptable ranges. If your numbers are in the borderline or, youБll need to make some and may need to take medication such as a. Your doctor may also want to check your levels more often. Your doctor can create a treatment plan thatБs right for your needs. Getting your cholesterol levels tested is an important part of keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy. Fasting before your test may help you get the most accurate results. However, your doctor may not feel that fasting is necessary. Be sure to ask your doctor before your test if fasting is needed. A complete cholesterol test also called a lipid panel or lipid profile is a blood test that can measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. A cholesterol test can help determine your risk of the buildup of plaques in your arteries that can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries throughout your body (atherosclerosis). High cholesterol levels usually don\’t cause any signs or symptoms, so a cholesterol test is an important tool.
High cholesterol levels often are a significant risk factor for heart disease. High cholesterol by itself usually has no signs or symptoms. A complete cholesterol test is done to determine whether your cholesterol is high and estimate your risk of developing heart disease. A complete cholesterol test, referred to as a lipid panel or lipid profile, includes the calculation of four types of fats (lipids) in your blood: Total cholesterol. This is a sum of your blood\’s cholesterol content. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. This is sometimes called the \”good\” cholesterol because it helps carry away LDL cholesterol, thus keeping arteries open and your blood flowing more freely. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This is sometimes called the \”bad\” cholesterol. Too much of it in your blood causes the buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) in your arteries (atherosclerosis), which reduces blood flow. These plaques sometimes rupture and can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn\’t need into triglycerides, which are stored in fat cells. High triglyceride levels are associated with several factors, including being overweight, eating too many sweets or drinking too much alcohol, smoking, being sedentary, or having diabetes with elevated blood sugar levels. Who should get a cholesterol test? Adults at average risk of developing heart disease should have their cholesterol checked every five years, beginning at age 18. People with a history of heart attacks or stroke require regular cholesterol testing to monitor the effectiveness of their treatments. For most children, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends one cholesterol screening test between the ages of 9 and 11, and another cholesterol screening test between the ages of 17 and 21. Cholesterol testing is usually avoided between the ages of 12 and 16 because the hormones prevalent during puberty often contribute to false-negative results. If your child has a family history of early-onset heart disease or a personal history of obesity or diabetes, your doctor may recommend earlier or more frequent cholesterol testing.
There\’s little risk in getting a cholesterol test. You may have some soreness or tenderness around the site where your blood is drawn. Rarely, the site may become infected. Generally you\’re required to fast, consuming no food or liquids other than water, for nine to 12 hours before the test. Some cholesterol tests don\’t require fasting, so follow the instructions provided by your doctor. A cholesterol test is a blood test, usually done in the morning since you\’ll need to fast for the most accurate results. Blood is drawn from a vein, usually from your arm. Before the needle is inserted, the puncture site is cleaned with antiseptic and an elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. This causes the veins in your arm to fill with blood. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood is collected into a vial or syringe. The band is then removed to restore circulation, and blood continues to flow into the vial. Once enough blood is collected, the needle is removed and the puncture site is covered with a bandage. The entire procedure will likely last a couple of minutes. It\’s relatively painless. There are no special precautions you need to take after your cholesterol test. You should be able to drive yourself home and do all your normal activities. You may want to bring a snack to eat after your cholesterol test is done, if you\’ve been fasting. In the United States, cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood. In Canada and many European countries, cholesterol levels are measured in millimoles per liter (mmol/L). To interpret your test results, use these general guidelines. If your results show that your cholesterol level is high, don\’t get discouraged. You may be able to lower your cholesterol with lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, exercising and eating a healthy diet. If lifestyle changes aren\’t enough, cholesterol-lowering medications also may help. Talk to your doctor about the best way for you to lower your cholesterol.