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How Often To Check Cholesterol

What Healthy Steps Can You Take

How Often Do Women Really Need to Check Cholesterol Levels?

If your total or LDL cholesterol is high, your doctor will likely recommend lifestyle changes, especially dietary ones. Most important is to cut back on saturated fat, which are found in butter, cheese, red meat, and other animal products. Youll also want to cut back on trans fats in packaged goods that list hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils among the ingredients.

Strong evidence indicates that saturated fat in the diet is associated with increased total and LDL cholesterol, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease, says Ginger Hultin, R.D.N., a Seattle-based dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Less than 10 percent of your calories each day should come from saturated fats, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. To lower cholesterol, the AHA recommends limiting to 6 percent of your daily calories.

    If youre overweight, losing about 5 to 10 percent of your weight can significantly reduce blood cholesterol, says Amgad N. Makaryus, M.D., an associate professor at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and chairman of cardiac care at Nassau University Medical Center. For someone who is 200 pounds, 5 percent is 10 pounds.

    For more lifestyle changes proven to help, check out our guide to eight things you dont know about cholesterol.

    If lifestyle changes dont turn out to be enoughsome people are genetically predisposed to high cholesterolyou may need medication, such as a statin.

    Why Cholesterol Screening Is So Important

    Your body needs some cholesterol to perform certain functions. But whentheres too much of it circulating in your blood, it can start to build up onthe inside walls of your blood vessels, which restricts the flow of blood toyour heart and brain. Eventually, this could cause a heart attack or stroke.

    Statin therapy and certain lifestyle changes are effective ways to bring high cholesterol down to a healthy range. But most people wont know that they have high cholesterol just by the way they feel.

    Thats where screening comes in. A lipid panel is an easy, inexpensive screening blood test that can be very helpful in identifying patients that are at risk for cardiovascular disease, explains preventive cardiologist Luke Laffin, MD.

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    Trends Point Out Problems Before Its Too Late

    Is it enough to just know that you are within the national guidelines? We dont think so. You need to know more about your scores in order to optimize your cholesterol. Following a trend is a much better way to keep pace with your health, and all of the information is already out there. We think YOU deserve easy access, and were making it easy for you to understand and share your Bloodscore Dashboard and results with your healthcare provider.Sources:

    Why Cholesterol Level Should Be Checked

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    Cholesterol level plays an important role in determining someones risk of cardiovascular diseases. High level of LDL and triglycerides tells us there might be a problem with the body entire health, especially the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Since high cholesterol problem rarely encounters noticeable symptoms and signs, performing a cholesterol test will be a considerably effective method of assessing the risk of heart disease we might have.

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    When Should I Have A Cholesterol Check

    We believe all adults should know their cholesterol numbers, no matter what your age. Even if you havent been invited for a cholesterol check its a good idea to get one anyway because its the only way to know your cholesterol numbers.

    You should also be offered a free cholesterol test by the NHS if any of the following apply to you:

    • You are aged 40-74

      Your GP should invite you for an NHS health check once every five years from the age of 40 to 74. The NHS health check is designed to spot the early signs of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and dementia. Youll be weighed and measured, have a cholesterol check and a blood pressure check, and youll be asked some simple questions about your health.

    • You are at high risk of heart disease

      Your GP or practice nurse might also offer you a cholesterol test if you are more likely to develop heart disease. For example, if other people in your family have had it, you smoke, youre overweight, or you have high blood pressure, diabetes or certain other health problems.

    The Latest On Cholesterol Testing

    Adults should have a blood lipid panel done at least every five years.

    Experts still advise getting regular blood lipid tests.

    In late 2013, when the new national guidelines on managing cholesterol were released, many people wondered how the change would affect blood cholesterol testing. Also known as a lipid profile or lipid panel, the cholesterol test measures several different types of fats in your bloodstream.

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    • Research health conditions
    • Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
    • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
    • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

    Read Also: How Does Diet Affect Cholesterol Levels In The Blood

    How Often Should Adults Get Tested

    How often you should get a cholesterol test depends on your cholesterol level, your other health problems, and your overall chance of heart disease.

    An adult who is being treated for high cholesterol may need more frequent tests, depending on his or her cholesterol level and the type of treatment being used.

    Most adults who have diabetes should be tested once a year or as often your doctor recommends.footnote 3

    Who Should Get One How Often

    How often should cholesterol be checked?

    Everyone should get their cholesterol checked regularly. How often depends on age and certain health risk factors.

    An adult with average risk of heart disease should get their cholesterol checked every 4 to 6 years starting at age 20.

    Some adults need to test their cholesterol more regularly. Those adults include the following individuals:

    • those with a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol
    • anyone with a previously high cholesterol test

    recommend testing a childs cholesterol levels once between the ages of 9 and 11 and again between the ages of 17 and 21.

    Cholesterol testing is generally avoided during puberty because hormones can alter the results of the tests.

    Most of the time, cholesterol tests require fasting, which means no food or drink other than water for up to 12 hours prior to the test.

    Because of this requirement, most people choose to have their cholesterol test done in the morning.

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    When Should I Get A Cholesterol Test

    Cholesterol testing has different uses depending on your overall health situation and can be used for screening, monitoring, or diagnosis. In general, tests to measure cholesterol typically begin as an adult, usually around 35 years old.

    Screening

    Health screening is a way of proactively looking for potential problems before symptoms become apparent. Cholesterol tests are often used in this way to identify people who may have an above-average risk of cardiovascular problems.

    There are no consensus guidelines for when to do cholesterol screening. Based on different views of the benefits and downsides of screening, expert groups have varying recommendations for when to start screening and how frequently to do repeat tests.

    In general, screening occurs less often in people who do not have risk factors for cardiovascular problems. In low-risk patients, screening with a lipid panel test may begin in their 20s, 30s, or 40s and be repeated about every five years. If results are normal, screening may continue with only measurements of total cholesterol and HDL.

    People with risk factors tend to start screening at a younger age and have screening tests more frequently. Some risk factors for cardiovascular disease include:

    • Being over 45 years old for men and over 50-55 for women
    • High cholesterol on a previous test
    • Prior cardiovascular problems
    Annually

    Monitoring

    Diagnosis

    How Can I Keep Healthy Blood Cholesterol Levels

    Talk to your doctor about your numbers. Your risk of disease depends on other factors, too, in combination with high cholesterol. To keep your cholesterol managed, you should do the following:

    • Choose healthy foods. Limit foods that are high in saturated or trans fats, sugar, and sodium . Choose foods high in fiber, such as fresh fruits and veggies, and in unsaturated fats, such as avocados and nuts. Learn more about healthy eatingexternal icon.
    • Stay physically active.;You should get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as biking or brisk walking, every week.6Learn more about physical activityexternal icon.
    • Dont smoke. Smoking damages the blood vessels and greatly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. If you dont smoke, dont start. If you smoke, learn how to quit.
    • Take medicine if necessary.;A healthy diet and physical activity can help many people reach healthy cholesterol levels, but some people may need medicines to lower their cholesterol. Always take your medicine as prescribed.

    Learn more about ways to prevent high cholesterol.

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    What Does A Cholesterol Check Involve

    A cholesterol test involves a a simple blood test, this can be done in two ways: ;

  • ;A finger prick test, which is quick, you only feel a small pinch, and the results can be checked there and then.
  • A small blood sample taken from your arm using a needle and syringe, which will be sent off for testing.
  • You can eat and drink normally before your test unless your doctor asks you not to. If you have a sample taken with a needle and syringe, you might be asked not to eat for 10-12 hours beforehand, usually overnight.

    Are Results From A Cholesterol Home Test Kit Reliable

    Highcholesterol How Often Do I Check My Cholesterol ...

    The reliability of cholesterol home tests varies, and the results can fluctuate. It depends on the maker of the kits. Many cholesterol home test kits advertise that they are greater than 95% accurate. Still, these cholesterol results should be considered approximations and should not take the place of a cholesterol test conducted by your health care provider.

    In addition, even if you consistently get normal results from your cholesterol home kit test strips, it’s very important to consult with your health care provider. To determine your risk of heart disease, your health care provider will evaluate your cholesterol level along with other factors such as your weight, physical exam results, medical history, and family history. Your health care provider may conduct other tests aside from the cholesterol screening.

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    What Is The Difference Between Laboratory And Point

    Traditionally, cholesterol tests have been done in laboratories where clear procedures are in place for proper sample collection and analysis. These mechanisms help make sure that rest results are reliable.

    New technologies have made point-of-care and at-home tests more widely available. When their instructions are correctly followed, these tests have nearly the same accuracy as laboratory tests.

    For at-home and point-of-care tests, blood is taken from your fingertip instead of from a vein in your arm. Because results do not need to be sent to a laboratory, results are provided within minutes instead of days.

    Laboratory testing is considered to be standard and is what doctors rely on to make medical decisions. That said, at-home and point-of-care tests are convenient and may help with ongoing monitoring of cholesterol.

    How And When To Have Your Cholesterol Checked

    Getting your cholesterol levels checked is an important part of staying healthy. High cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States.

    Knowing your cholesterol status can help you stay in control of your health. Learn about cholesterol screening and why it is important.

    Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs to make hormones and digest fats. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, but you can also get cholesterol from eating certain foods, such as egg yolks and fatty meats. Having high blood cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke. High blood cholesterol doesnt have symptoms, which is why getting your cholesterol levels checked is so important.

    Learn more about cholesterol screenings.

    You should get your cholesterol checked at least every 5 years. If you have cardiovascular risk factors, talk with your health care team about getting tested more often.

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    What Can Cause Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels

    LDL cholesterol levels tend to increase as people get older. Other causes of high LDL cholesterol levels include:

    • Family history of high LDL cholesterol
    • High blood pressure or type 2 diabetes
    • Smoking
    • Not getting enough physical activity
    • Eating too much saturated fat and;trans;fat; and not enough fruits and vegetables
    • Taking certain medicines, like medicines to lower blood pressure

    Causes of low HDL cholesterol levels include:

    • Smoking
    • Not getting enough physical activity
    • Not eating enough fruits, vegetables, and unsaturated fat

    Keeping It Under Control

    What is Cholesterol | How Often Should I Have My Cholesterol Checked | Cholesterol Test

    Lifestyle changes are the key to dealing with high cholesterol. We encourage people to discuss the details with their doctors to develop a treatment plan that will get you on the path to good health.

    Keeping your levels under control starts with diet and exercise. Most people will only need to get a few hours of exercise each week to stay healthy. A healthy diet should be light on saturated fats and relatively high in fruits and vegetables. It can also be important to control the quantity of food to prevent the risk of obesity.;

    Smokers can reduce their risk of high cholesterol by quitting. Its a challenging habit to kick, but a medical professional can help to make the process easier.

    It takes hard work to make these changes, but it is worth it. They reduce the risk of developing high cholesterol and many other common health problems. We encourage anybody who needs help making these changes or managing their levels, to get in touch with their doctor to prescribe a treatment plan that works best for them.

    Also Check: What Do My Cholesterol Numbers Mean

    Preparation For A Cholesterol Test

    In some cases, your doctor may ask you to fast before having your cholesterol levels tested. If youre only getting your HDL and total cholesterol levels checked, you may be able to eat beforehand. However, if youre having a complete lipid profile done, you should avoid eating or drinking anything other than water for nine to 12 hours before your test.

    Before your test, you should also tell your doctor about:

    • any symptoms or health problems youre experiencing
    • your family history of heart health
    • all medications and supplements that youre currently taking

    If youre taking medications that could increase your cholesterol levels, such as birth control pills, your doctor may ask you to stop taking them a few days before your test.

    What Do Cholesterol Test Numbers Mean

    If you have a lipoprotein profile, it’s important to look at all the numbers from the cholesterol test, not just the total cholesterol number. That’s because LDL and HDL levels are two primary indicators of potential heart disease. Use the information below to interpret your results . This will help you get a better idea about your risk for heart disease.

    Total blood cholesterol level:

    • High risk: 240 mg/dL and above
    • Borderline high risk: 200-239 mg/dL
    • Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL
    • Borderline high risk: 150-199 mg/dL
    • Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL

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    How Is A Total Cholesterol Test Different From A Lipid Panel

    A total cholesterol test measures only the sum of all kinds of cholesterol. A lipid panel includes the total cholesterol measurement but also determines the levels of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. For this reason, a lipid panel offers more detail and is more commonly used as a test for initial cholesterol screening.

    Cholesterol Testing At Home: It May Be Faster But Is It Better

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    If you don’t mind pricking a finger, you can check your cholesterol without sitting around in a doctor’s waiting room or laboratory. Devices available in pharmacies or through the Internet make this easy to do at home. But is it worth doing?

    The makers of home cholesterol tests rightly tout their products as faster than visiting a doctor. You prick your finger, gently squeeze a few drops of blood onto a test strip or into a small “well,” and you get the results in a few minutes, instead of waiting a few days.

    But faster isn’t necessarily better. The results won’t give you the information you need to figure out your risk of having a heart attack or other cardiovascular problem. Nor will they help you check whether a diet and exercise program is working.

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    What Is Cholesterol

    Cholesterol is a waxy material;thats found naturally in your blood. Your body makes;cholesterol and uses it to do important things, like making;hormones and digesting fatty foods.

    If you have too much cholesterol in your body, it can build up inside your blood vessels and make it hard for blood to flow through them. Over time, this can lead to heart disease.

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