Who Should Get A Cholesterol Blood Test
- In adults with no symptoms, cholesterol screening should start at age 20.
- Patients with heart disease or previous cholesterol screenings that indicate high levels of cholesterol should be screened every one to two years.
- Those people on medication that is prescribed specifically to lower their cholesterol levels should have a cholesterol blood test every six weeks until targeted cholesterol goals are met, and every four to six months thereafter.
What Are The Results That I Expect To See
The test results should be read well in order to understand the possible risks that could happen. The numbers may not imply a serious matter and it is definite that there are a minimum percentage of the values presented in Cholesterol test. Cholesterol levels are measured by MMOL\ Liter and in some countries it is measured by MG\DL. The guiding principles to reading Cholesterol levels are as follows:
- Total Cholesterol : It is the total percentage of Cholesterol in blood and the perfect level should be 5 MMOL\LITER or less.
- Good Cholesterol : It is the total percentage of good Cholesterol and the perfect level should be 4 MMOL\LITER or less.
- Bad Cholesterol : It is the total percentage of bad Cholesterol and the perfect level should be 3 MMOL\ LITER.
Percentages Of Bad Cholesterol Levels:
- Less than 100 MG\DL is the perfect level.
- Between 100\129 Mg\DL is the perfect lower level.
- Between 130-159 MG\DL is considered a high level.
- Between 160-189 MG\DL is considered a high level.
- Above 190 is considered an extremely high level.
The Percentage Of Good Cholesterol Levels:
- Less than 40 MG\DL is considered a risk of suffering heart diseases.
- Between 40-59 MG\DL is considered a better level.
- 60 MG\DL is considered a preventive level which protect from heart diseases.
When To Get Tested
Screening: as part of a regular health exam with a lipid profile when no risk factors for heart disease are present adults should be tested once every four to six years children, teens, and young adults should be tested once between the ages of 9 and 11 and then again between the ages of 17 and 21.
Monitoring: may be done more frequently and at regular intervals when risk factors for heart disease are present, when prior results showed high risk levels, and/or when undergoing treatment for unhealthy lipid levels
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What Happens During A Cholesterol Test
A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
Cholesterol tests are usually done in the morning, as you may be asked to refrain from eating for several hours prior to the test.
You may also be able to use an at-home kit to test for cholesterol. While instructions may vary between brands, your kit will include some kind of device to prick your finger. Youll use this device to collect a drop of blood for testing. Be sure to follow the kit instructions carefully.
Also, be sure to tell your health care provider if your at-home test results shown your cholesterol level is higher than 200 mg/dl.
Two Types Of Cholesterol
Your body makes two types of cholesterol. One type is bad cholesterol. The other is good cholesterol.
- Bad cholesterol is called low-density lipoprotein . Its unhealthy because if you have too much LDL in your body, it can build up in your arteries as fatty deposits.
- Good cholesterol is called high-density lipoprotein . Its healthy because it grabs on to excess cholesterol from your arteries and eliminates it. This keeps extra cholesterol from impacting your health.
Too much cholesterol can build up slowly in the arteries that go to your heart and your brain. This can then cause health problems later on. Therefore, you want to keep your LDL cholesterol numbers low and your good HDL cholesterol numbers high.
This can be tricky to do for some people. High cholesterol levels may run in your family, for example. But there are plenty of ways to naturally lower your cholesterol levels and improve your hearth health.
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Lp Is The Most Dangerous Cholesterol Particle Of The Bunch
A form of LDL cholesterol, Lp is the most inflammatory of all cholesterol particles. If your cholesterol fractions show that your Lp level is higher than normal, then your overall risk for heart disease is higher than normal, too. Unfortunately, Lp levels are closely tied to heredity, and there arent any prescription medications that can effectively address them. The best option is to offset the inflammatory nature of Lp with a healthy diet grounding and nutritional supplements such as niacin, omega-3 oils, and nattokinase or lumbrokinase .
Most of all, remember that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease. You will always find cholesterol where arterial damage and blockages occur, because the body uses cholesterol to repair the harm. The true culprit is the inflammatory agent that caused the damage in the first place.
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
- Not getting enough physical activity
- Eating too much saturated fat and not enough fruits and vegetables
- Taking certain medicines, like medicines to lower blood pressure
Causes of low HDL cholesterol levels include:
- Not getting enough physical activity
- Not eating enough fruits, vegetables, and unsaturated fats
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How Can I Lower My Cholesterol Before A Blood Test
Cholesterol is not your body’s enemy but rather an asset, aiding in cell formation and hormone production. Your liver produces the exact amount your body requires any excess amounts come from the foods you eat and lack of physical activity, as FamilyDoctor.org explains. The site continues, adding that these excess amounts pose a health risk, increasing your chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. Blood tests are the only way to detect high cholesterol levels. If you feel you suffer from high cholesterol, and want to lower it before testing, you can begin with small lifestyle changes that might make a difference.
Reduce your cholesterol intake 1. Consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day. Read food labels for cholesterol content, paying close attention to the serving size. A particular item might only contain 25 milligrams of cholesterol, but the serving size might be a half cup.
Swap saturated fats for healthy fats. Saturated fats increase your cholesterol levels, while unsaturated fats lower them. The main source of saturated fat is animal products such as whole-fat dairy, eggs, organ meat and red meat. Unsaturated fats are in oils such as canola, olive, sunflower and peanut. Avocados are another source, along with a variety of nuts. Only 7 percent of your daily calories should come from saturated fats.
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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Improving Health With Current Research
Learn about the following ways the NHLBI continues to translate current research into improved health for people who have high blood cholesterol. Research on this topic is part of the NHLBIs broader commitment to advancing heart and vascular disease scientific discovery.
Learn about some of the pioneering research contributions we have made over the years that have improved clinical care.
Cholesterol Levels For Men And Women
HDL levels differ for men and women
Women naturally have higher HDL cholesterol levels than men due to differences in the genes. Women should aim for an HDL cholesterol level above 1.2mmol/L while men should aim for above 1mmol/L.
Cholesterol levels can rise during pregnancy
During pregnancy, both cholesterol and triglyceride levels can significantly rise. We dont recommend getting a cholesterol test during pregnancy because your results wont be accurate. Our advice is to wait until at least 6-8 weeks after your baby is born or after you stop breastfeeding to get a cholesterol test. This means you dont need to worry unnecessarily. Find out more about pregnancy and blood fats.
Cholesterol levels rise during the menopause
Women may also find their cholesterol levels rise during the menopause.
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How Is A Cholesterol Test Performed
To check your cholesterol levels, your doctor will need to get a sample of your blood. You will probably have your blood drawn in the morning, sometimes after fasting since the night before.
A blood test is an outpatient procedure. It takes only a few minutes and is relatively painless. Its usually performed at a diagnostic lab. In some cases, it can also be performed during a regular doctor visit, at a local pharmacy, or even at home. Walk-in clinic rates can cost anywhere from $50 to $100. Cholesterol testing at a local pharmacy can cost $5 to $25. An at-home test can cost anywhere from $15 to $25, while tests that need to be shipped to a lab can average $75 to $200.
There are very few risks associated with having your blood drawn for a cholesterol test. You may feel slightly faint or have some soreness or pain at the site where your blood was drawn. Theres also a very slight risk of infection at the puncture site.
Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood. Ideal results for most adults are:
- LDL: 70 to 130 mg/dL
- HDL: more than 40 to 60 mg/dL
- total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL
- triglycerides: 10 to 150 mg/dL
How To Prepare For The Test
Theres not too much that goes into preparing for a cholesterol test. Whenever you go in for medical visit, its a good idea to come early and bring a list of any medications or supplements youre taking. Wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothing so that you dont put pressure on the site of collection when leaving. In addition, you may be asked to steer clear of any food or drink for 912 hours before the test.
Can You Lower Triglycerides Naturally Without Drugs
Triglycerides can be lowered without drugs. For example, they can be lowered naturally through diet changes, decreasing consumption of alcohol or sugary beverages, by increasing physical activity, by losing weight, and other ways. As little as 5% to 10% reduction in body weight may lower triglycerides.
Cholesterol tests are blood tests that measure the amount of cholesterol in the body. The health care professional may order only a cholesterol test with results showing:
In addition to cholesterol level, the health-care professional also may order a lipid profile test. The lipid profile test will also measure triglyceride levels and another fatty substance found in the blood.
Can I Test My Own Cholesterol At Home
Its better to have your cholesterol tested by a professional because taking blood and measuring cholesterol levels is a skilled job and your results will be affected by the way you do the test. Going to a health professional means you will get an accurate reading.
We dont recommend home sampling, but if you do decide to test your cholesterol at home, follow these simple steps to take your sample safely and get a more accurate result.
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How Is A Total Cholesterol Test Different From A Direct Ldl Test
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.
How Do I Prepare For The Test
You may need to not eat or drink anything but water for 12 to 14 hours before this test. In addition, be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don’t need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.
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Confirming Unhealthy Cholesterol Levels
A lipid panel usually measures total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol. Your test may also show the level of non-HDL cholesterol, which includes LDL and all other types of bad cholesterol that raise your risk of atherosclerosisand complications.
Your doctor may diagnose you with high blood cholesterol if your total or non-HDL cholesterol level is higher than what is healthy for you. Your doctor might also find that your level of good HDL cholesterol is too low.
Your doctor may ask that you fast before a lipid panel. This means you do not eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before your blood is drawn. Ask you whether you should take your usual medicines before the test and if there are any other special instructions.
Your doctor may order other tests to help decide whether medicines are needed to lower your risk of heart and blood vessel diseases. These may include a coronary calcium scan, and blood tests for levels of C-reactive protein and lipoprotein-a.
Cholesterol Is Only Dangerous When Its Oxidized
Oxidation can occur when cholesterol molecules come into contact with free radicals, toxins, and other inflammatory particles in the blood. Once oxidized, cholesterol particles can then damage the delicate endothelial lining of arteries. This is one reason why its so important to consistently eat an anti-inflammatory diet, keep stress levels low, avoid known toxins, and supplement with additional antioxidant support.
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How To Lower Cholesterol
If you have high cholesterol, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medications or both.
Here are some ways to manage your cholesterol.
Eat heart-healthy food
What you eat can make a big difference to your cholesterol levels.
Cut back on foods high in saturated fats like:
- oily fish.
Drink less alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. So drinking less is a good way to lower your cholesterol.
The Ministry of Health recommends no more than 10 standard drinks per week for women and no more than 15 for men. One standard drink is equal to:
- a standard can of 4% beer
- a small glass of wine
- a small single shot of spirits
If you have high cholesterol or youve been diagnosed with a heart condition, you may need to drink less than this.
Smoking makes your LDL cholesterol stickier and reduces the amount of HDL cholesterol in your blood. It also damages the artery walls. This increases the build-up of plaque in your arteries and can cause risk of heart attack and stroke.
Quitting smoking is a great way to lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Sitting less and being more active are great ways to reduce high cholesterol.
This doesnt mean you have to join a gym or take up running it just means you need to move your body more throughout the day. Ideally you should do 30 minutes of activity a day.
You could try:
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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.
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