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What Is Cholesterol Lab Test

What Treatments Are Recommended If My Level Is Too High

How to Interpret an LDL Cholesterol Test Accurately

One treatment option is to adopt a lifestyle that will help lower your levels, one including exercise and a diet that is low in saturated fats and trans fat. If diet and exercise alone cannot lower cholesterol enough, drugs are often recommended and usually aim to lower LDL-C levels specifically. Sometimes, two different drugs are used together to treat people with extremely high cholesterol levels. The drug of choice differs for different people although the most commonly used lipid-lowering drugs are statins. Your healthcare practitioner will need to take into account your individual situation before prescribing any cholesterol-lowering drug.

What If My Test Result Is Not Normal

Test results are only one part of a larger picture that takes into account your personal and family medical history and your current health. Sometimes a test needs to be repeated to check the first result. Talk to your health care provider about your result and ask questions.

If your test results are not normal, ask your health care provider:

  • if you need additional tests
  • what you can do to work toward a normal value
  • when you need to be tested again.
Lipid Profile$73.99

How Is A Total Cholesterol Test Different From An Hdl Test

HDL is a type of cholesterol that is often referred to as good cholesterol. While HDL is included in total cholesterol, an HDL test measures the amount of this specific kind of cholesterol in the blood.

Total cholesterol and HDL are minimally affected by recent food consumption, so non-fasting cholesterol tests frequently include these two measurements. In some people, these measurements are sufficient to calculate a persons level of bad cholesterol.

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What Do The Test Results Mean

Total Cholesterol Level

LDL: Ask your provider about your risk for heart disease. It will help you know what your LDL goal should be.

  • If you have a low risk of heart disease, the recommended level of LDL is less than 160 mg/dL.
  • If you have a moderate risk for heart disease, your goal is less than 130 mg/dL.
  • If you have heart disease, diabetes, or a high risk of heart disease, your LDL should be below 100 mg/dL.

HDL: Because HDL cholesterol protects against heart disease, higher numbers are better. A level less than 40 mg/dL is low and is considered a major risk factor because it increases your risk for developing heart disease. HDL levels of 60 mg/dL or more help to lower your risk for heart disease.


Your LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, or total cholesterol levels may be high, or your HDL cholesterol level may be low, because :

  • You have an inherited tendency to have abnormal levels of lipids.
  • You smoke.
  • You don’t get enough exercise.
  • You eat too much saturated fat.
  • You have hypothyroidism.
  • You take certain medicines or vitamins, such as anabolic steroids, beta blockers, epinephrine, birth control pills, or vitamin D.

To Take This Cholesterol Test Kit:

Cholesterol test

Order the Everlywell kit online.

Once it arrives, register the kit online using the unique ID that comes inside the kit.

Use the lancet in the kit to prick your finger and follow the collection instructions inside the kit.

Place your sample inside the return bag included with the kit. Then, put the bag back inside the kit box.

Send the box back in the return envelope using the prepaid shipping label provided.

After the lab tests your sample, check your results on our secure, online platform.

Before you order a cholesterol home test kit, it is important to make sure that the cholesterol tests you choose are similar to the standard lipid panel ordered by your healthcare provider, which includes measuring total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

After you take any home cholesterol test , it is recommended that you discuss the cholesterol test results with your healthcare provider to make sure you understand your results and the implications for your health. High cholesterol can increase your heart and coronary artery disease risk, which is a key reason why itâs important to know if your cholesterol levels are within the normal range.

If you…

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What Are Cholesterol & Lipids Lab Tests

A cholesterol health check also gives a summary of the total cholesterol, which is a sum of the LDL, HDL, and VLDL cholesterol values. Cholesterol levels that are out of balance may be a threat to overall health and wellbeing. Unbalanced cholesterol levels my be an indication of hypothyroidism, diabetes, nephrotic syndrome and a diet high in fat. When reviewing information about cholesterol on MyLabsForLife, we not only include the basic labs tested used to screen and monitor cholesterol levels, you will find information about other potential influences that may influence cholesterol levels, such as heavy metals and other toxins.

What Is A Cholesterol Test Used For

A cholesterol test is a useful tool to assess the risk of heart disease including heart attack and stroke.

The test is used to measure and analyze the amount of fats in the blood. If there is too much cholesterol in the blood, treatment can be started to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

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What Does The Test Measure

An HDL cholesterol test analyzes a sample of blood to see how much cholesterol is present within high-density lipoprotein particles. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is important for basic cell function. Cholesterol is transported through the body in the blood within lipoproteins, which are made up of fat and protein.

There are multiple kinds of lipoproteins that can carry cholesterol including high-density lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins , and very low-density lipoproteins .

Cholesterol in LDL and VLDL particles can build up in the arteries and cause cardiovascular problems. In contrast, HDL particles transport cholesterol to the liver so that it can be eliminated from the body. Through this and other functions, HDL cholesterol helps protect against hardening and blockages of the arteries.

In practice, virtually all HDL cholesterol tests also measure total cholesterol, which is the sum of cholesterol found in all the different kinds of lipoproteins. By subtracting HDL cholesterol from total cholesterol, the doctor can determine the amount of non-HDL cholesterol that is present. In addition, tests like a lipid panel use a mathematical formula to calculate the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood sample.

What Do Your Triglyceride Results Mean

The Best Cholesterol Tests To Take

Triglycerides are another type of blood fat and your triglyceride levels can tell you more about your health. If your triglycerides are high, it can mean youre at risk of heart disease, liver disease and diabetes.

You might have your triglycerides tested when you have a cholesterol test.

People with high triglyceride levels often have a low HDL level as well, which is an unhealthy combination.

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How Is An Hdl Cholesterol Test Different From A Lipid Panel

A lipid panel always includes a measurement of HDL cholesterol, but HDL cholesterol levels can be tested without doing a full lipid panel.

A standard lipid panel measures total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. It then uses those measurements to calculate the amount of LDL cholesterol.

Why Trust Verywell Health

As a seasoned health writer, Alena Hall understands how important it is to know exactly what youre getting in a product intended for medical use. Over the years, she has reviewed dozens of products, from athletic recovery aids to condition-specific products to homeopathic essential oils, to help readers like you discover products that can help you live your best life.

Additional reporting to this story by Jennifer Nied

As a seasoned health writer, Jennifer Nied understands how vital quality product recommendations are for treating symptoms safely and effectively at home. For over 10 years, she has reviewed products, interviewed experts, scrutinized ingredients, and pored over research studies and claims, to help readers like you understand what works for your specific conditions. Every product in this piece was selected taking into account recommendations from doctors, published research, and real customer reviews.

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How Is An Hdl Cholesterol Test Different From A Total Cholesterol Test

A total cholesterol test measures the sum of all cholesterol found in different kinds of lipoproteins. The total cholesterol number includes HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and VLDL cholesterol.

Because these kinds of cholesterol have distinct implications for cardiovascular health, tests of total cholesterol often measure HDL cholesterol as well so that more information is provided about the ratio of HDL to non-HDL cholesterol in the blood.

Who Should Get One How Often


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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Comprehensive Guide To Testing Cholesterol Levels

The cholesterol levels test is used to measure cholesterol and triglyceride levels using a blood sample. Your risk of developing cardiovascular disease can be increased by high cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Regular checks ups are recommended since there are no symptoms of high cholesterol.

High cholesterol or triglyceride levels can increase your risk of heart disease.

What Is This Test

This group of tests measures the amount of cholesterol and other fats in your blood.

Cholesterol and triglycerides are lipids, or fats. These fats are important for cell health, but they can be harmful when they build up in the blood. Sometimes they can lead to clogged, inflamed arteries, a condition call atherosclerosis. This may keep your heart from working normally if the arteries of your heart muscle are affected.

This panel of tests helps predict your risk for heart disease and stroke.

A lipid panel measures these fats:

  • Total cholesterol
  • Stress
  • High total cholesterol

If you are already being treated for heart disease, you may have this test to see whether treatment is working.

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What Strategies Can Be Used To Lower Triglyceride Levels

For many people, high triglycerides are caused by another disorder, such as diabetes, obesity, renal failure, or alcoholism. With these conditions, the strategy is to treat the primary cause. When high triglycerides are not caused by another disorder, they are often seen together with high cholesterol and treatment is directed toward lowering both cholesterol and triglycerides. Lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and increased exercise, are usually the primary strategy for lowering levels. If these fail, lipid-lowering medications such as statins are generally recommended. For more on this, visit the American Heart Associations webpage on Healthy Living.

Comparing And Contrasting A Direct Ldl Cholesterol Test And A Calculated Ldl Cholesterol Test

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A key difference in LDL cholesterol testing is that a direct LDL cholesterol test measures LDL cholesterol specifically while most other tests calculateLDL cholesterol with a mathematical formula.

For standard cholesterol tests like a lipid panel, LDL cholesterol is estimated with a formula based on levels of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides.

In most cases, a calculated LDL cholesterol level is accurate enough to assess cardiovascular disease risk. However, the formula cant be used if you have high levels of triglycerides. For those patients direct LDL cholesterol measurements are considered the test of choice.

Both direct and calculated LDL cholesterol tests analyze a blood sample and can be used for screening, monitoring, and diagnosis. However, the choice of test must be tailored for the patient in order to obtain the most accurate result.

Most treatment guidelines for high levels of LDL cholesterol are based upon studies that focused on calculated LDL cholesterol. As a result, the interpretation of direct and calculated LDL cholesterol levels may have some variation that depends on a patients individual circumstances.

When multiple LDL cholesterol tests are performed over time, it is generally recommended to use the same type of test so that results can be more appropriately compared.

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How Is Cholesterol Measured

The primary way to measure your cholesterol levels is with a blood test from your arm, usually done in a laboratory. This test is frequently performed in adults, it takes only a few minutes, and it’s relatively painless.

Your doctor may ask you to fast if you are having a complete lipid profile that includes your LDL. If you are only having a total cholesterol test, you do not need to fast. If you are not sure if you should fast, call your doctor or the lab.

Learn The Warning Signs Of Serious Complications And Have A Plan

High blood cholesterol can lead to serious cardiovascular complications, such as heart attack or stroke. If you think that you are or someone else is having the following symptoms, Every minute matters.

Heart attack

Heart attack symptoms include mild or severe chest pain or discomfort in the center of the chest or upper abdomen that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. This discomfort can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, heartburn, or indigestion. There also may be pain down the left arm or in the neck. Although both men and women can experience these symptoms, women are more likely to have other, less typical symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, unusual tiredness, and pain in the back, shoulders, or jaw. Read more about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.


If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and perform the following simple test.

FFace: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

AArms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

SSpeech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?

TTime: If you observe any of these signs, . Early treatment is essential.

Read more about the signs and symptoms of a stroke.

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Ask A Laboratory Scientist

This form enables patients to ask specific questions about lab tests. Your questions will be answered by a laboratory scientist as part of a voluntary service provided by one of our partners, American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science. Please allow 2-3 business days for an email response from one of the volunteers on the Consumer Information Response Team.

Will Eating Or Fasting Affect The Results

Cholesterol test prep, fasting, what do the results of ...

According to the American Heart Association , in the past, healthcare professionals have recommended that people fast for 912 hours before having a cholesterol test.

The United Kingdoms National Health Service explains that there are two ways to measure someones cholesterol.

One method is a finger prick test. In this, a person pricks their finger and places a drop of blood on a strip of paper. This strip of paper then goes into a machine that checks the cholesterol levels within minutes.

Another method involves taking blood from the arm. In this, a healthcare professional will draw blood from the arm and send the sample to a laboratory for the results. This method may require a person to fast.

However, a paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that for people aged 20 years and older who are not taking cholesterol lowering medications, there seems to be little difference between fasting blood tests and non-fasting blood tests in terms of their accuracy and ability to estimate cardiovascular risk.

The foods that people eat can affect the level of triglycerides in their blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. According to the paper above, a fasting blood test may be necessary when the results of a non-fasting blood test indicate a triglyceride level of 400 milligrams per deciliter or higher.

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When Should I Get An At

You can consider getting an at-home test if you are curious about your blood cholesterol. This can provide information about your current cholesterol levels and may help initiate a more in-depth conversation with your doctor about heart health and wellness.

At the same time, you should not have an at-home cholesterol test if you have concerns or symptoms related to your health. In that case, you should talk with your doctor for specific guidance. Your doctor can also review the pros and cons of at-home cholesterol testing in your situation.

Comparing And Contrasting A Direct Ldl Cholesterol Test And A Total Cholesterol Test

A total cholesterol test measures the sum of all kinds of cholesterol in a blood sample. In this way, total cholesterol includes the amount of good HDL cholesterol as well as bad types of cholesterol, including LDL cholesterol.

A test of total cholesterol alone does not measure how much LDL cholesterol is present. If a total cholesterol test includes a measurement of HDL cholesterol, it may enable a calculated estimate of LDL cholesterol.

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