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How To Check Ldl Cholesterol

Cholesterol Chart For Adults

How to Interpret an LDL Cholesterol Test Accurately

Your doctor may recommend a plan of treatment for high cholesterol that includes lifestyle modifications and potentially medication. This will vary based on factors like other medications you may be taking, your age, sex, and general health.

Here are some medications more commonly prescribed for high cholesterol:

  • Statins.Statins lower the LDL cholesterol levels by slowing the production of cholesterol by the liver.
  • Bile acid sequestrants.Bile acid sequestrants are substances used in digestion. These resins can reduce cholesterol levels in the blood by binding to bile acids and removing them, forcing the body to break down LDL cholesterol to create bile acids instead.
  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors.Cholesterol absorption inhibitors can block the absorption of cholesterol from the diet, sometimes in conjunction with statins.
  • Bempedoic acid.Bempedoic acid helps to stop an enzyme in the liver, ATP citrate lyase, from making cholesterol. This drug is often combined with statins for increased benefit for those with familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited condition that can cause early heart disease.
  • PCSK9 inhibitors. Also used frequently with familial hypercholesterolemia, PCSK9 inhibitors, which are injected drugs, help the liver absorb and remove more LDL cholesterol from the blood.

Medications can also be used to treat contributing factors to cholesterol like triglycerides. These may be used in addition to some of the medications above.

An Easy And Important Test

High cholesterol usually has no symptoms. Thats why its important to have your doctor check your cholesterol levels with a simple blood test.

It may be a “fasting” or “non-fasting” lipoprotein profile. Your doctor will tell you if you should fast before your test.

In the test, a health care professional takes a sample of your blood. If additional blood tests are needed, all the samples are usually taken at once. Discomfort is usually minor.

After the blood sample is taken, its analyzed in a laboratory, where the levels of HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides are measured. Your test report will show your cholesterol level in milligrams per deciliter of blood .

To determine your cardiovascular risk, your doctor will consider your cholesterol test results in context with your age, sex and family history. Other risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure, will be considered as well. If your risk remains uncertain, and treatment options are unclear, your healthcare professional may consider other factors and/or request a coronary artery calcium measurement to provide greater insight into your risk and help in decision-making.

What Can Affect My Ldl Level

Things that can affect your LDL level include:

  • Diet. Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat make your blood cholesterol level rise
  • Weight. Being overweight tends to raise your LDL level, lower your HDL level, and increase your total cholesterol level
  • Physical Activity. A lack of physical activity can lead to weight gain, which can raise your LDL level
  • Smoking.Cigarette smoking lowers your HDL cholesterol. Since HDL helps to remove LDL from your arteries, if you have less HDL, that can contribute to you having a higher LDL level.
  • Age and Sex. As women and men get older, their cholesterol levels rise. Before the age of menopause, women have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After the age of menopause, women’s LDL levels tend to rise.
  • Genetics. Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High cholesterol can run in families. For example, familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited form of high blood cholesterol.
  • Medicines. Certain medicines, including steroids, some blood pressure medicines, and HIV/AIDS medicines, can raise your LDL level.
  • Other medical conditions. Diseases such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS can cause a higher LDL level.
  • Race. Certain races may have an increased risk of high blood cholesterol. For example, African Americans typically have higher HDL and LDL cholesterol levels than whites.

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What Is Cholesterol And Why Is It Important For Our Health

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is made mainly in the liver. Smaller quantities find their way into our bodies through the food we consume. Contrary to popular belief, cholesterol is not just a bad guy. It is a critical structural component of all our cells and essential for producing vital hormones and vitamin D.

Our body absorbs about half of the cholesterol from food. Then, cholesterol enters the blood, which already contains some quantities produced in the liver. The risk of atherosclerosis in our blood vessels increases when normal cholesterol levels are exceeded, especially if other risk factors are present.

Because cholesterol and other lipids are insoluble in water, they bind to unique proteins in the blood plasma. These unique molecules are called lipoproteins. By them, lipids can be transported to tissues and organs.

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Is 255 Cholesterol Level Good Or Bad

Hdlcholesterollow What Does Cholesterol Do To You?,cholesterol can i ...

Using the data above, you can see that a 255 LDL Cholesterol level falls into the Very High category. There is also something called HDL Cholesterol, which is often referred to as good cholesterol. The higher the HDL Cholesterol the better. HDL Cholesterol levels of 60 mg/dL or more are considered good.

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What Happens During A Cholesterol Test

The cholesterol test, or screening, requires a simple blood draw. You may need to fast for 8 to 12 hours before your cholesterol test. Be sure to ask your doctor how to prepare for the test.

The cholesterol test checks your levels of:

  • Low-density lipoprotein or badcholesterol. Having high levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries and result in heart disease or stroke.
  • High-density lipoprotein or goodcholesterol. HDL is known as good cholesterol because high levels can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood that your body uses for energy. The combination of high levels of triglycerides with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol levels can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • Total cholesterol, the total amount of cholesterol in your blood based on your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides numbers.

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 Are Risk Factors For High Blood Cholesterol

Lifestyle, some health conditions, and family history can raise your risk for high cholesterol. Your doctor may suggest you have your cholesterol checked more often if you have risk factors, such as the following:

  • A family history of heart disease or high blood cholesterol. You are more at risk of having high cholesterol if other people in your family have it. This may be due to genetics, but it may also be that families share the same unhealthy lifestyle habits. Some people also have a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolemia, which can cause high levels of low-density lipoprotein , or bad, cholesterol from a young age.
  • Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes raises bad cholesterol and lowers high-density lipoprotein , or good, cholesterol, raising the risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Older age. As you age, your body cant clear cholesterol as well as it used to.
  • Being male. Men tend to have higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels than women do. But after menopause , LDL cholesterol levels in women increase.4,5
  • Having overweight or obesity. Excess weight, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of physical activity can lead to high cholesterol.
  • Previously having had high cholesterol. If you have a history of high cholesterol, your doctor may want you to keep a closer watch on your cholesterol.

Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before the test.

What Do I Need To Know Before Getting Screened

How to Read a Cholesterol Test (LDL, HDL, IDL, VLDL)

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.

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How Do I Prepare For My Cholesterol Test

If your doctor recommends a ânon-fastingâ cholesterol test, the lab will look only at your total cholesterol numbers. For that test, you merely need to show up at the lab and have some blood drawn. If your doctor suggests a âfastingâ cholesterol test , the lab will analyze your levels of LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. For that test, you will need to fast nine to 12 hours before the blood test.

Sometimes a doctor will ask you to do a non-fasting cholesterol test first. Depending on the results, they may then send you back for the more complete lipid profile.

When Should I Get Ldl Cholesterol Testing

LDL cholesterol testing may be used to assess your risk of cardiovascular disease or monitor changes in cholesterol over time.

Doctors will take factors such as age, family history, and other medical conditions when determining how often you should check your levels of LDL cholesterol. Examples of common screening recommendations are outlined below:

Demographic Group
With or without risk factorsAnnually

Having your cholesterol levels checked at regular intervals gives doctors a chance to notice any changes that could become harmful to your health. High or increasing cholesterol levels are a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, or stroke, among other conditions.

Doctors may want to test your cholesterol levels more regularly if you or your family have a history of heart disease, smoking, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, or a diet high in saturated fat.

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What Causes High Cholesterol In Women

Dr. Lepor shares, “It is quite common for young healthy women to have higher total cholesterol levels that is unrelated to heart disease since it is the HDL or “good” cholesterol that is elevated. This elevation of HDL-cholesterol is related to the female sex hormone, estrogen. But, particularly during menopause when hormone levels fluctuate, we may see changes in the balance of HDL and LDL cholesterols, which can put women at risk. One way for post-menopausal women to know if their HDL cholesterol levels are protective against heart disease or not is to undergo a test called a coronary calcium score, where plaque in your arteries can be detected.”

What Do Cholesterol Test Numbers Mean

What is LDL cholesterol

If you have a lipoprotein profile, itâs important to look at all the numbers from the cholesterol test, not just the total cholesterol number. Thatâs 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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Do I Need To Fast For A Lipid Panel

In most cases, you need to fast for 10 to12 hours before your lipid panel blood test. Fasting means not eating or drinking anything except water. In some cases, getting a lipid panel test without fasting is possible.

In any case, its important to ask your healthcare provider in advance about whether you need to fast before the test. Always follow the instructions that your provider gives you. If your provider has instructed you to fast and you accidentally break the fast , please let your provider know because the test is not as useful without fasting.

What Are Normal Blood Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol levels, measured in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood, are categorized as optimal, near optimal, borderline, high, and very high. What are considered healthy, normal levels?

While individual health factors can influence whats considered healthy, typically doctors want to see:

  • Total: For people 19 and younger, less than 170 mg/dL is healthy. This number becomes a range of 125-200 mg/dL in men and women 20 and older.
  • Non-HDL: Nineteen-year-olds and younger should have less than 120 mg/dL of this type, and this figure jumps to 130 mg/dL for adults.
  • LDL: In men and women 20 and upas well as those youngerlevels smaller than 100 mg/dL are considered within a healthy range.
  • HDL: Those 19 and younger should have an HDL of greater than 45 mg/dL. In adult men, this figure should be at least 40 mg/dL, with the healthy range climbing to 50 mg/dL or higher for women.

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First What Is Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a fat found in your blood. Theres good cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein . And theres bad cholesterol known as low-density lipoprotein . HDL helps protect your heart. LDL builds up on the walls of your arteries, blocking healthy blood flow and raising your stroke and heart attack risk.

Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. High levels of triglycerides also raise your stroke risk.

The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends the following cholesterol levels:

Total cholesterol
Less than 150 mg/dL

How Do I Know What My Ldl Level Is

How to Read a Cholesterol Test: LDL, HDL, Lp(a), Apo(e), sdLDL, TG/HDL, ApoA1/ApoB

A blood test can measure your cholesterol levels, including LDL. When and how often you should get this test depends on your age, risk factors, and family history. The general recommendations are:

For people who are age 19 or younger::

  • The first test should be between ages 9 to 11
  • Children should have the test again every 5 years
  • Some children may have this test starting at age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke

For people who are age 20 or older::

  • Younger adults should have the test every 5 years
  • Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should have it every 1 to 2 years

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Fasting And Cholesterol Tests

For many years, fasting prior to cholesterol tests was recommended in every case. However, increasingly, doctors are reconsidering this recommendation. Research suggests that food intake doesnt affect the accuracy of measurements for total cholesterol, HDL, and LDL.

That said, food before a test can elevate triglyceride levels, so accuracy there does require fasting. Prior to your test, double-check with your doctor about how best to prepare.

Cholesterol tests provide a broader glimpse of your health status. You cant really affect results without making significant, long-term dietary or lifestyle changes . As such, behaviors like steering clear of foods high in cholesterol or saturated fat within a couple of days of your lipid profile wont really affect results.

Can Test Results Be Wrong

In some cases, cholesterol test results can be wrong. For example, a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that one common method for calculating LDL cholesterol levels often produces inaccurate results.

Improper fasting, medications, human error, and a variety of other factors can cause your test to produce false-negative or false-positive results. Testing both your HDL and LDL levels typically produces more accurate results than checking your LDL alone.

High cholesterol can be treated with lifestyle changes and medication. Lowering high levels of LDL in your blood can help you avoid problems with your heart and blood vessels.

To help lower your cholesterol levels:

  • Quit smoking tobacco and limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Avoid high-fat and high-sodium foods, while maintaining a well-balanced diet. Eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole-grain products, low-fat dairy products, and lean sources of protein.
  • Exercise regularly. Try to do 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity per week, as well as two sessions of muscle strengthening activities.

Your doctor may put you on a therapeutic lifestyle changes or TLC diet. Under this meal plan, only 7 percent of your daily calories should come from saturated fat. It also requires you to get less than 200 mg of cholesterol from your food each day.

Some foods help your digestive tract absorb less cholesterol. For example, your doctor may encourage you to eat more:

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Getting Your Cholesterol Checked

Many people have never had their cholesterol checked, so they dont know whether they are at risk.

High cholesterol usually has no signs or symptoms.

The only way to know whether you have high cholesterol is to get your cholesterol checked. Your health care team can do a simple blood test, called a lipid profile, to measure your cholesterol levels.

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