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How Is Cholesterol Listed On A Blood Test

How Is A Total Cholesterol Test Different From A Direct Ldl Test

Cholesterol Test | Total Cholesterol Test | Blood Cholesterol Test | High Causes | Treatment

A total cholesterol test does not differentiate between good and bad cholesterol, but the bad LDL cholesterol plays an important role in determining cardiovascular disease risk.

In a standard lipid panel, LDL is calculated based on the levels of other fat molecules. However, in some cases, those calculations can be thrown off, especially if a person has high levels of triglycerides. A direct LDL test avoids the need for calculation by measuring LDL specifically.

What Are Normal Levels Of Cholesterol

Normal levels of cholesterol are different depending on your age and sex. These guidelines show desirable total, non-HDL, LDL and HDL levels by age and sex.

Table 1: Target cholesterol levels by age and sex

Age and sex



People aged 19 years and younger Men aged 20 years and olderWomen aged 20 years and older

The table above spells out the numbers for normal cholesterol levels. The table below shows cholesterol levels that are higher than normal. High cholesterol numbers vary by age group and sex and may be different for those who have heart disease. These guidelines represent high cholesterol numbers for those who do not have heart disease.

Table 2: High total, non-HDL and LDL cholesterol levels by age and sex

Age and sex
People aged 19 years and younger

Borderline: 170-199 mg/dL

High: Greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL

Borderline: 120-144 mg/dL

High: Greater than or equal to 145 mg/dL

Borderline: 110-129 mg/dL

High: Greater than or equal to 130 mg/dL

High: Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL

Near optimal or above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL

Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL

Very high: Greater than 189 mg/dL

High: Greater than or equal to 239 mg/dL

Near optimal or above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL

Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL

Very high: Greater than 189 mg/dL

LDL cholesterol levels

If you do not have heart disease or blood vessel disease, and you are not at high risk for developing heart disease, the optimal number is less than 100 mg/dL.


Does Order Of Draw Matter

In the era of lyophilized anticoagulants, order of draw is no longer important. Contamination of serum samples with K EDTA will occur routinely if order of draw is not followed. Modern lab equipment can tell the difference between K from the EDTA tube and K from the patient, so order of draw is not important.

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How Often Should I Get Routine Blood Work

Your doctor will typically recommend that you get routine blood work at least once a year, around the same time as your yearly physical.

But this is the bare minimum. There are several major reasons you may want to get blood tests more often than that:

  • Youre experiencing unusual, persistent symptoms. These could include anything from fatigue to abnormal weight gain to new pain.
  • You want to optimize your health. Knowing levels of various blood components, such as HDL and LDL cholesterol, can allow you to tweak your diet or fitness plan to minimize unhealthy habits . This can also maximize the nutrients you put in your body and more.
  • You want to reduce your risk of disease or complications. Regular blood tests can catch the warning signs of almost any disease early. Many heart, lung, and kidney conditions can be diagnosed using blood tests.

Talk to your doctor first if you want to get certain tests more often than once a year.

  • nutrient tests for levels of vital nutrients, such as iron or B vitamins

Some other tests that you may want include:

  • enzyme markers if youre at risk for cancer or other conditions like liver cirrhosis, stroke, or celiac disease

Normal Cholesterol Levels By Age

On Call Ultra Cholesterol Meter/Blood Lipid Analyzer/Blood Fat Monitor ...

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that plays many roles in the body, including synthesizing hormones and vitamin D. It also assists in the transporting of lipids. Cholesterol is found in the foods you eat, but it is also made by the liver.

We need some cholesterol to build healthy cells, but an accumulation of the bad kind can be problematic, increasing the risk of atherosclerosis. The recommended ranges for your cholesterol will depend on your age. Find out what cholesterol levels are, why age is a factor, and how to keep your levels within a healthy range.

Verywell / Jessica Olah

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Is There Anything Else I Should Know

Cholesterol should be measured when a person is not ill. Blood cholesterol is temporarily low during acute illness, immediately following a heart attack, or during stress . Wait at least six weeks after any illness to have cholesterol measured.

There is some debate about whether very low cholesterol is bad. Low cholesterol ) is often seen when there is an existing problem like malnutrition, liver disease, or cancer. However there is no evidence that low cholesterol causes any of these problems.

Cholesterol is typically high during pregnancy. Women should wait at least six weeks after having a baby to have cholesterol measured.

Some drugs that are known to increase cholesterol levels include anabolic steroids, beta blockers, epinephrine, oral contraceptives, and vitamin D.

How Is The Test Used

The comprehensive metabolic panel is used as a broad screening tool to evaluate the health of your organs and to screen for conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease. The CMP may also be ordered to monitor known conditions, such as high blood pressure , and to monitor treatment with specific medications that may affect kidney or liver function. If your healthcare practitioner is interested in monitoring two or more individual CMP components, your practitioner may order the entire CMP because it offers more information.

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Reporting Cholesterol Test Results To The Doctor

Mentioned above is the reference range of cholesterol readings. Once the reports come of the cholesterol test, you must visit your doctor immediately. Even if the reports are within normal range, let the doctor see the cholesterol test results and give his certification that your cholesterol levels are within normal limits.

It has been recommended by cardiologists that adults who are of 20 years or more should have their cholesterol levels checked at regular intervals of 4-6 years. But people who have history of cardiovascular diseases should get regular checkups and get investigations done from time to time. This will help in detecting any kind of problem right in the beginning stages and proper treatment can follow to cure the same completely. Get a complete cholesterol test done at any reliable and reputed diagnostic center for getting authentic results.

Medically Reviewed By

Maanasi specializes in health topics including diet and nutrition. A mother of an untiring seven year old, she enjoys nurturing her love affair with English. She is often found nestled with a book, plopped against a dozen pillows, smiling away at the brink of finishing yet another book of the many dozens, that adorn the shelves of her Mini Library!

Who Should Consider A Basic Health Panel

Understanding Blood Test Video 1: Lipid Profile and Hemoglobin A1C

The Basic Health Panel is for any individual who wishes to monitor their overall health status. A Basic Health Panel is recommended as an annual test so that patients and their doctors can keep an eye on trends and changes in the body that may indicate an increased risk of developing certain illnesses or disorders.

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What Is A Cholesterol Test

A cholesterol blood test, also called a lipid panel or lipid profile,measures the amount of cholesterol and certain types of fats in your blood. The test is used to assess your risk of heart disease. A cholesterol test is often part of a routine annual physical. Its typically a test offered to adults, but children and teens can also have high cholesterol, says , the chief medical officer and cofounder of Redirect Health in Phoenix, Arizona.

A cholesterol test measures the following types of cholesterol:

  • High density lipoprotein levels: This good cholesterol can lower your risk of heart attack.
  • Low density lipoprotein levels: This bad cholesterol can cause plaque buildup in your arteries and blood vessels, and lead to cardiovascular disease including coronary artery disease , cerebrovascular disease, and peripheral artery disease the leading causes of heart attacks, stroke, and lower limb amputations.
  • Total blood cholesterol level: This measures the total amount of cholesterol in your blood, including high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein .
  • Triglyceride levels: This is another form of fat in your blood that can raise your risk of heart disease, especially in women.

Youve probably heard that high blood cholesterol is not good for your health, but its important to keep in mind that not all cholesterol is created equal.

How To Read Blood Test Results

While every laboratory or test-providing company may structure their result reports differently, they all must include the same components as mandated by federal legislation.

Some of that may be administrative content, such as the name of the person who did the blood test, the date the test was done, and the name of the doctor who ordered the test.

When it comes to understanding the results, you can look for the following :

  • Quantitative test result. Results will be typically written out numerically in cases when the test measured the quantity of something. For example, if the test measured the amount of cholesterol in your blood.
  • Abnormal markers. Often, a laboratory report will include some kind of marker to let you know if a result is outside the normal interval, and therefore abnormal. For example, you may see the letter H to indicate high, the letter L to indicate low, or the acronym WNL for within normal limits. You may see an asterisk and some additional comments in text if your results come out as highly abnormal. In this case, youll typically get a call from your doctor.
  • Reference range. Every laboratory will have its own reference range for each type of test. Typically, this reference range will be written in your laboratory report next to the numerical value of your result so you are able to see where your result falls in the range.

To a blood test, the nurse or technician:

  • Cleans the area on your arm where theyll draw the blood from.
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    What Do I Need To Know Before Getting Screened

    A cholesterol test is a simple blood test. Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before the test. The results give you four measurements:1,3

    • Total cholesterol. Less than 200 mg/dL is considered normal.
    • LDL cholesterol. Less than 100 mg/dL is considered normal. LDL is sometimes called bad cholesterol, because it can build up and clog your arteries, eventually leading to heart disease or stroke.
    • HDL cholesterol. It is best to have more than 40 mg/dL. HDL is sometimes called good cholesterol, because it can help clear arteries of cholesterol buildup.
    • Triglycerides. This is a type of fat in the blood. Normal levels are typically below 150 mg/dL.

    Testing Cholesterol At Home


    Home cholesterol test kits are available at pharmacies or online and may seem like an easier option than going to the lab to get your blood drawn.

    With these tests, only a small finger prick with a lancet is needed. A drop of blood is placed on a test strip and may be inserted in to a meter, and the result is available in a matter of minutes. It is quick and convenient. But is this the best way to test your cholesterol?

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    If Cholesterol Is Necessary Why Do We Have To Worry About How Much We Have

    Having enough cholesterol to meet your needs is important. Having too much cholesterol can cause problems. If your cholesterol levels are high, the condition is called hypercholesterolemia. If your cholesterol levels are low, the condition is called hypocholesterolemia. It is not common to have cholesterol levels that are too low, but it can happen.

    What To Expect With The Test

    A cholesterol test can be fasting or nonfasting.

    Most cholesterol tests require fasting, which means that a person should consume no food, drink, or medication for 912 hours before the test except water and possibly some other fluids if the doctor recommends them. Due to this requirement, most people choose to have their cholesterol test in the morning.

    The doctor will advise the person beforehand if they need to fast. A nonfasting test will only show levels of total cholesterol. It will not show how much cholesterol is LDL or HDL.

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    What Is A Lipid Panel

    A lipid panel is a blood test that measures the amount of certain fat molecules called lipids in your blood. In most cases, the panel includes four different cholesterol measurements and a measurement of your triglycerides.

    Having too many lipids in your blood can lead to buildup in your blood vessels and arteries, which can cause damage and increase your risk of cardiovascular problems. Because of this, healthcare providers use lipid panels for both children and adults to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

    Other common names for a lipid panel include:

    • Lipid profile.
    • Fasting lipid panel or non-fasting lipid panel.

    Do You Need To Lower Your Cholesterol And Triglycerides

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    If you have high cholesterol, high triglycerides or an unhealthy balance of blood fats, your doctor will probably recommend bringing these levels down with lifestyle changes and sometimes treatments.

    Your doctor should look at your results in relation to any other risk factors for heart disease you may have such as high blood pressure, being overweight or smoking, as well as other health conditions such as diabetes.

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    Do I Need To Call My Doctor For My Test Results

    It usually takes a day or two from the time the blood is drawn until your health care professional receives the results of the cholesterol test. Ideally, the health care professional will contact you with those results and explain their significance. However, if you have not been contacted in a short period of time, it is reasonable to contact your health care professional and ask for the test results.

    There are home cholesterol test kits available that have been U.S. FDA approved, but their accuracy is not necessarily as good as that of a certified laboratory. These tests usually measure total cholesterol only, but some also can measure HDL, LDL, and cholesterol. If you use one of the home kits, it is wise to discuss the results with your health-care professional.

    The purpose of the cholesterol blood test is to determine whether treatment is needed for high cholesterol. That treatment may include dietary and lifestyle modifications, medications, or both to control cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.

    How Should We Prepare For A Lipid Panel

    Your child may be asked to stop eating and drinking for 8 to 12 hours before the test, and not to exercise for 12 to 14 hours before. Tell your doctor about any medicines your child takes because some can affect the test results.

    Wearing a T-shirt or short-sleeved shirt for the test can make things easier for your child, and you also can bring along a toy or book as a distraction.

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    Different Types Of Blood Tests To Know

    How often should you have blood work done, and which tests should you get? The answers to these questions will depend on factors like your age, medical history, and family history.

    If you begin experiencing concerning new symptoms, your doctor will likely order blood tests designed to rule out or diagnose various conditions. But does that mean you dont need to have your blood tested if youre feeling perfectly fine? Not at all!

    One of the best ways for patients to be proactive about their health is by scheduling a baseline blood test, perhaps on an annual basis. These routine tests will paint a picture of the current state of your overall health.

    How Is High Cholesterol Treated

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    There are several ways to lower high blood cholesterol , including lifestyle changes or medication, or both. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine which therapy is best for you.

    Lifestyle modifications

    Healthcare providers like to start with the least invasive treatments when possible, such as lifestyle changes. Youll be advised to:

    • Avoid tobacco. If you do smoke, quit. Smoking is bad for you in many ways, and reducing your level of good cholesterol is one of them.
    • Change the way you eat. Limit the number of trans fats and saturated fat. Eat heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish and whole grains. Limit red meat, sugary products and dairy products made with whole milk.
    • Get more exercise. Try to get about 150 minutes of physical activity every week, or about 30 minutes per day for most days of the week.
    • Keep a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, talk to your healthcare provider about safe ways to do this. Youll see results even before you reach your ideal weight. Losing even 10% of your body weight makes a difference in your cholesterol levels.
    • Reduce the effect of negative emotions. Learn healthy ways to deal with anger, stress or other negative emotions.
    • Control blood sugar and blood pressure. Make sure you follow your healthcare providers instructions for blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes, and for keeping blood pressure in the healthy range.


    • Atorvastatin .
    • Simvastatin .
    • Pitavastatin .

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