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What Is Ldl Cholesterol In Blood Test

What Is The Normal Ldl Cholesterol Level In The Blood

Cholesterol Blood Test

Adults: 25 – 100 mg/dlLimit level: 130 – 159 mg/dlHigh risk: > 160 mg/dlPatients with coronary heart disease < 100 mg/dl

Reference ranges are always related to total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.

In the International System of Units , LDL cholesterol in the blood is measured in mmol/L. The normal LDL cholesterol levels in the blood in the SI are:

Adults: 0.64 – 2.58 mmol/lChildren: 0.64 – 2.84 mmol/l

What Is A Direct Ldl Cholesterol Test

The direct low-density lipoprotein cholesterol test measures the amount of LDL cholesterol, sometimes called “bad” cholesterol, in the blood. Elevated levels of LDL-C are associated with an increased risk of hardening of the arteries and heart disease.

Usually, your LDL-C level is calculated using the measured values of the components of a standard lipid panel: total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol , and triglycerides. Using a mathematical equation, the amount of LDL-C can be determined from the three measured values. Calculated LDL-C is about as accurate as direct LDL-C when triglyceride levels are normal and can be done at no additional cost as part of a lipid profile.

In most cases, calculated LDL-C is a good estimate of the LDL-C, but it becomes less accurate with increasing triglyceride levels. When triglycerides are significantly elevated , the equation is no longer valid. Other conditions such as severe cirrhosis can also affect the accuracy of calculated LDL-C. In these situations, the only way to accurately determine LDL-C is to measure it directly or with special testing techniques .

High triglycerides may be due to a metabolic disorder affecting lipids. However, anyone may have high triglycerides after eating. In either situation, the direct LDL-C test can determine the amount of LDL in your blood.

Read the article on LDL Cholesterol to learn more about LDL-C and what results might mean.

What To Think About

  • Chylomicrons are another type of lipoprotein that are measured in a different test. Chylomicrons are in the blood and carry fat from your intestine to your liver. They carry triglycerides to your muscles for immediate use. Or they carry triglycerides to fat tissue for storage.
  • Having a high cholesterol level increases your chances of having a heart attack. The higher your cholesterol, the greater your chances. An elevated total cholesterol level in younger people is particularly significant, since the narrowing of the coronary arteries usually takes many years to develop.
  • Lifestyle changes may help lower blood cholesterol levels and increase HDL cholesterol. Some people have better responses to diet and lifestyle changes than do others. Lifestyle changes might include:
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Eating healthier by reducing saturated fats and cholesterol in the diet while increasing fibre and complex carbohydrate.
  • Losing weight. An improvement may occur if you lose as little as 2.5 kg to 5 kg .
  • Being active on most, preferably all, days of the week.

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My Doctor Ordered A Lipid Panel How Is This Different From The Ldl Test

The LDL test only measures the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood, while the lipid panel measures total cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL, LDL, and very low-density lipoprotein , a type of cholesterol associated with arterial plaque. A lipid panel provides more information to help determine an individuals risk of developing heart disease.

Your Test Results: A Preview

What is Cholesterol

Your test results will show your cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter of blood . Your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol are among numerous factors your doctor can use to predict your lifetime or 10-year risk for a heart attack or stroke. Your doctor will also consider other risk factors, such as age, family history, smoking status, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Lipid profile or lipid panel is a blood test that will give you results for your HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total blood cholesterol.

Watch an animation about cholesterol score.

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Hdl Vs Ldl Cholesterol: What Is The Difference

by | | heart health, heart scan |

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a substance your body uses to produce hormones, vitamin D and digestive juices to break down fats in your diet. Your body needs some cholesterol to function. However, when the levels get too high, buildup occurs in the artery and obstructs blood flow. This can lead to coronary artery disease, heart attacks, strokes or other vascular diseases. In this blog, well compare HDL vs LDL cholesterol and teach you practical ways to improve your levels and reduce your risk of a coronary event.

Why Do I Need A Cholesterol Test

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance. Your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs. But you take in more cholesterol from certain foods, such as those from animals. If you have too much cholesterol in your body, it can build up in the walls of your arteries and eventually harden. This process, called atherosclerosis, actually narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to travel through the vessels.

Unfortunately, high cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms. In later stages of atherosclerosis, though, you may suffer angina — severe chest pain from lack of blood flow to the heart. If an artery gets totally blocked, a heart attack results. A routine blood cholesterol test is a far better way of finding out what your cholesterol level is.

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Cholesterol And Triglyceride Screening

Some health organizations recommend that everyone older than age 20 be checked for high cholesterol.

Some health organizations recommend that everyone age 20 and older be checked for high cholesterol.footnote 1 The Canadian Cardiovascular Society recommends cholesterol tests based on age and risk factors for heart disease. footnote 2

Talk to your doctor about when you should get a cholesterol test.

For more information, see When to Have a Cholesterol Test.

Who Should Get Tested And When

Blood Test for Cholesterol

The American Heart Association recommends that people over 20 years old with no risk factors for heart disease get their cholesterol levels checked every 46 years. The CDC suggests that children aged 911 years and adolescents aged 1721 years should also have a cholesterol level test.

A person may need to have cholesterol tests more often if they have certain risk factors, including:

  • heart disease

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Looking For Reference Ranges

You may be able to find your test results on your laboratorys website or patient portal. However, you are currently at Lab Tests Online. You may have been directed here by your labs website in order to provide you with background information about the test you had performed. You will need to return to your labs website or portal, or contact your healthcare practitioner in order to obtain your test results.

Lab Tests Online is an award-winning patient education website offering information on laboratory tests. The content on the site, which has been reviewed by laboratory scientists and other medical professionals, provides general explanations of what results might mean for each test listed on the site, such as what a high or low value might suggest to your healthcare practitioner about your health or medical condition.

The reference ranges for your tests can be found on your laboratory report. They are typically found to the right of your results.

If you do not have your lab report, consult your healthcare provider or the laboratory that performed the test to obtain the reference range.

For more information, please read the article Reference Ranges and What They Mean.

How Do I Prepare For My Cholesterol Test

If your doctor recommends a “non-fasting” 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 “fasting” 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.

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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.

Why Are Ldl Tests Necessary

LDL test. Causes, symptoms, treatment LDL test

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that a person with high cholesterol levels will generally have no symptoms. However, high levels of LDL cholesterol can cause a buildup of plaque in a persons blood vessels.

Plaque is a substance comprising fat, cholesterol, calcium, and waste from body cells. Plaque can build up inside a persons arteries, causing them to narrow or become blocked. A buildup of plaque can lead to:

  • coronary heart disease
  • chronic kidney disease

It is, therefore, important that a person has their cholesterol levels checked regularly.

A doctor can also use LDL blood tests to monitor how well a person is responding to LDL-lowering treatment.

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Plant Sterols Can Lower Cholesterol Levels

Plant sterols are found naturally in plant foods including sunflower and canola seeds, vegetable oils and in nuts, legumes, cereals, fruit and vegetables. Some margarine and milks have concentrated plant sterols added to them. Margarines enriched with plant sterolslower LDL cholesterol in most people if the correct amount is eaten .

How To Lower High Ldl Cholesterol

If your LDL levels are found to be borderline high, high, or very high, youll need to manage the condition and lower them. While some approaches can be challenging to keep up with, theyre usually quite successful. Oftentimes, successfully lowering bad cholesterol will require mixing and matching methods. Whats most important is that you detect any abnormalities as soon as you can and remain proactive in taking them on.

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What Are Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol circulating in the blood is carried by special particles called lipoproteins. The two major cholesterol-carrying lipoproteins are low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein :

  • LDL cholesterol is often referred to as âbadâ cholesterol because too much of it can build up in your arteries and form plaques, which increases the risk of heart disease .
  • HDL cholesterol is often referred to as âgoodâ cholesterol as it carries cholesterol to the liver to be broken down and excreted.

Since your total cholesterol is a combination of your LDL cholesterol and your HDL cholesterol, ideally you want to keep your LDL levels low and your HDL levels high. There are many factors that can influence your cholesterol, including, diet, exercise, weight, genetics, and other health conditions.

Research For Your Health

Cholesterol Blood Test – What does it mean? (lipids, HDL, LDL, Non-HDL )

The NHLBI is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health the Nations biomedical research agency that makes important scientific discoveries to improve health and save lives. We are committed to advancing science and translating discoveries into clinical practice to promote the prevention and treatment of heart, lung, blood, and sleep disorders, including high blood cholesterol. Learn about current and future NHLBI efforts to improve health through research and scientific discovery.

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How Is The Total Cholesterol Or Blood Cholesterol Test Done

A blood test is a routine test. A phlebotomist is the person whose job it is to draw blood. Blood is usually drawn from the vein in your arm. You will sit down and the phlebotomist will wrap a rubber band around your upper arm so that the vein in your elbow sticks out. Then they will use a needle to puncture the vein and remove blood. The blood is sent to the lab to be examined.

Youve probably been at health fairs where testing is offered. In that case, the person performing the test takes a drop of blood from your finger. The finger stick test uses a small blade to poke a hole in the tip of your finger to get the blood.

What Is A Normal Ldl Cholesterol Level

The LDL test is a little different from many other blood tests because the results are reported as optimal, near optimal, borderline high, high, and very high instead of just normal or abnormal. According to MedlinePlus, LDL levels of less than 100 milligrams per deciliter are optimal. LDL levels of 100 to 129 mg/dL are near optimal, LDL levels of 130 to 159 mg/dL are borderline high, LDL levels of 160 to 189 mg/dL are high, and LDL levels of 190 mg/dL and above are very high.

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What Do The Results Mean

Cholesterol is usually measured in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood. The information below shows how the different types of cholesterol measurements are categorized.

Total Cholesterol Level
Less than 40 mg/dL A major risk factor for heart disease

A healthy cholesterol range for you may depend on your age, family history, lifestyle, and other risk factors. In general, low LDL levels and high HDL cholesterol levels are good for heart health. High levels of triglycerides may also put you at risk for heart disease.

The LDL on your results may say “calculated” which means it includes a calculation of total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides. Your LDL level may also be measured “directly,” without using other measurements. Regardless, you want your LDL number to be low.

Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.

Whats The Relationship Between Gender And Sex

Making sense of cholesterol tests

Gender and sex can be related for some.

The expectation that if youre assigned male at birth, youre a man, and that if youre assigned female at birth, youre a woman, lines up for people who are cisgender.

But for people who are trans and gender non-conforming, the sex theyre assigned at birth may not align with the gender they know themselves to be. They may identify with a different sex than what they were assigned at birth.

Ultimately, the concepts of gender and sex are socially constructed. This means that we as a society assign sex and gender to people based on socially agreed-upon characteristics. This doesnt mean that body parts and functions are made up it just means that the way we categorize and define each of these things could actually be different.

People often like to separate gender and sex by saying things like gender is in the brain and sex is in the pants. Although accepting someone as their correct gender is a good first step, beliefs like these can actually be harmful to trans people.

When trans people are understood to be the sex they were assigned at birth and not the sex they truly are it can have a significant impact on their physical, mental, and emotional health.

For example, this can make it difficult to obtain fundamental rights, such as healthcare, and even access to basic necessities, such as public bathrooms.

Gender identity is your own personal understanding of your gender and how you want the world to see you.

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Are Test Results Accurate

While no test is always accurate, measurements of blood cholesterol are an effective tool for estimating your risk of cardiovascular disease. Various factors can affect the accuracy of a cholesterol test:

  • Direct vs calculated testing: While calculated LDL cholesterol levels are sufficient in most cases, direct testing provides more accurate results in patients with elevated triglyceride levels. Patients who may have elevated triglyceride levels include those diagnosed with type II diabetes or obesity, patients with a history of considerable alcohol intake, and patients taking medication to increase triglycerides.
  • Fasting: In most cases, a lipid profile requires fasting. Eating within 8-12 hours before a lipid panel may increase the level of triglycerides in your bloodstream. Because this increased level of triglycerides could affect the accuracy of calculated LDL cholesterol values, your doctor may request that you refrain from eating prior to your blood draw.

Can Ldl Cholesterol Levels Be Too Low

There is no medically-established LDL level that’s too low however, scores of 40 mg/dL or below have been associated with depression, anxiety, and stroke. Very low levels are also a hallmark of familial hypobetalipoproteinemia, a genetic disorder that causes problems with fat absorption and liver health, while leading to vitamin deficiencies.

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What Happens During The Test

An LDL test only requires a simple blood sample. This may also be called a venipuncture, or blood draw. The healthcare provider will begin by cleaning the area where the blood will be drawn with antiseptic. Blood is usually taken from a vein at your elbow or on the back of your hand.

Next, the healthcare provider will tie an elastic band around your upper arm. This causes blood to pool in the vein. A sterile needle will then be inserted into your vein, and blood will be drawn into a tube. You may feel mild to moderate pain that is similar to a pricking or burning sensation. You can usually reduce this pain by relaxing your arm while your blood is being drawn. The healthcare provider will remove the elastic band while the blood is being drawn.

When they are done drawing blood, a bandage will be applied to the wound. You should apply pressure to the wound for several minutes to help stop the bleeding and prevent bruising. Your blood will be sent to a medical lab to be tested for LDL levels.

The chance of experiencing problems due to an LDL blood test is low. However, as with any medical procedure that breaks the skin, possible risks include:

  • multiple puncture wounds due to trouble finding a vein
  • excessive bleeding


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