Facts You Should Know About Cholesterol Tests
- Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance in the body that is an important part of normal body function.
- Cholesterolhas two main types: HDL, or good cholesterol, that protects against heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease and LD, or bad, cholesterol, which increases the risk of these conditions.
- Cholesterol tests measure total cholesterol as well as HDL and LDL levels in the blood. Triglycerides, another type of fat present in the bloodstream, may also be measured.
- Cholesterol tests are usually ordered and blood drawn in a doctor’s office. There are also home test kits available. It is important to be fasting for the tests to be accurate. Typically, a fasting test is performed first thing in the morning before the individual has eaten anything for the day. Fasting typically requires 12 hours without food. Water, plain tea or coffee are permitted, and hydration is required. No other liquids are acceptable during the fasting period. Patients cannot add sugar, artificial sweeteners, cream, or milk to drinks.
- If you take OTC, prescription, or herbal supplements discuss these with your doctor prior to the test.
- Cholesterol test results should be discussed with the health-care professional to determine if treatment of high cholesterol is necessary to decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke.
What Does It Mean If My Cholesterol Levels Are High
Your cholesterol levels give information about your overall health and your risk of cardiovascular disease, such as a heart attack or stroke. Talk to your healthcare provider about your results. They will look at your other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as your age, gender, blood pressure and whether you smoke or have diabetes, before deciding what needs to happen next.Stopping smoking, eating a healthier diet and being more active lower your risk of heart disease. If your risk is high enough, you might need to take medicines to lower your cholesterol levels.
How The Test Is Performed
Cholesterol tests are performed on blood samples taken in a clinic, hospital, or outpatient center. This sample blood is usually collected from a vein in the forearm. Youll feel a pinch when its being taken, and, from start to finish, the procedure typically only takes about five minutes.
A rapid test, which relies on blood collected from a finger prick, can also be given in the clinic or taken at home. These are typically not as accurate or detailed as their standard counterparts.
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Common Blood Test Abbreviations
This list of blood test abbreviations isn’t exhaustive, but it does cover the letters seen most commonly on laboratory or medical requisition forms. If you’re ever confused or concerned, it’s best to consult with your family physician or other suitable medical professional. The technicians at the medical lab can help too.
- ALT – Alanine Transaminase
- ANA – Antinuclear Antibody
- AST – Alanine Aminotransferase
- BAC – Blood Alcohol Concentration/Content
- BMP – Basic Metabolic Panel
- BNP – Beta Natriuretic Peptide
- BUN – Blood Urea Nitrogen
- CA – Calcium
- CBC – Complete Blood Count
- CK – Creatine Phosphokinase
- CR – Creatinine
- ESR – Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate
- Hct – Hematocrit
- Hgb – Hemoglobin
- HDL/LDL – High Density Lipoproteins/High Density Lipoproteins
- INR – International Normalized Ratio
- K – Potassium
- Mg – Magnesium
- Na – Sodium
- PSA – Prostate Specific Antigen
- PT – Prothrombin Time
- RBC – Red Blood Cell Count
- TPO – Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies
- Trig – Triglycerides
- TSH – Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
- WBC – White Blood Cell Count
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
How Does A Cholesterol Test Work
The total cholesterol test measures the following:
- Total Cholesterol, the total amount of cholesterol in your blood
- HDL, high density lipoprotein
- LDL, low density lipoprotein
- Triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood
The test is fast and pain free. It involves taking a single drop of blood from your finger tip and analysing it in a cholesterol test system. Once your results are available our pharmacist will review your results with you and can offer lifestyle or diet advice if your cholesterol level is slightly higher than normal.
The following stores are able to provide instant cholesterol results: Balbriggan, Ballincollig, West St. Drogheda, Dundalk, Grafton St., Henry St., Navan SC, Phibsboro SC, Terenure, The Square SC.
Please note other stores use an accredited medical laboratory for sample analysis. Tests in these stores are available anytime Monday to Thursday and before 9.30am on Friday mornings.
As this service is dependent on having trained staff on duty, pease contact the store directly to check availability to conduct the test.
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 Do The Results Mean
Triglycerides are usually measured in milligrams of triglycerides per deciliter of blood. For adults, results are usually categorized as:
- Normal/desirable triglyceride range: less than 150mg/dL
- Borderline high triglyceride range: 150 to 199 mg/dL
- High triglyceride range: 200 to 499 mg/dL
- Very high triglyceride range: 500 mg/dL and above
Higher than normal triglyceride levels may put you at risk for heart disease. To reduce your levels and lower your risk, your health care provider may recommend lifestyle changes and/or prescribe medicines.
If your results were borderline high, your provider may recommend that you:
- Lose weight
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Take a cholesterol lowering medicine
If your results were high or very high, your provider may recommend the same lifestyle changes as above and also that you:
- Follow a very low-fat diet
- Lose a significant amount of weight
- Take medicine or medicines designed to lower triglycerides
Be sure to talk to your health care provider before making any major changes to your diet or exercise routine.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
What Does This Shift Mean
Everyone wins with this change. People dont like to fast overnight. Some find it difficult to do, others are even harmed by it, such as those who faint from fasting and people with diabetes who take medications to lower blood sugar. The new recommendation means you can have your blood drawn when its most convenient for you, rather than early in the day.
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Risks Of Untreated High Cholesterol
High cholesterol often produces no signs and symptoms, but the health consequences can be severe.
When there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it builds up in the arteries alongside fat and other substances, forming deposits called plaque. The accumulation of plaque narrows the arteries and reduces and slows the blood flow to the heart. If the blood supply to any part of the heart becomes blocked, a heart attack can occur.
Why Would I Need This Test
You might need this test if your doctor wants to assess your risk of developing heart disease. It is usually recommended every 5 years for people who are over 45 . If you have other risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure or diabetes, you will need the lipid test more regularly.
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Why Is It Important To Monitor High Cholesterol
Increased levels of cholesterol can over time lead to heart disease so it is important to be aware of your cholesterol level. Regular exercise and a balanced diet can generally help to maintain your cholesterol within the normal range although some patients are prone to higher cholesterol levels. Taking a cholesterol test will identify if your cholesterol level is within the normal range.
In cases where we identify a higher than expected cholesterol level we will provide you with expert advice, product, diet and lifestyle recommendations and when required a referral letter with your results for you to discuss with your GP.
What Is The Abbreviation For Cholesterol
Looking for the shorthand of Cholesterol? This page is about the various possible meanings of the acronym, abbreviation, shorthand or slang term: Cholesterol.
What does Cholesterol mean?
- cholesterol, cholesterin
- an animal sterol that is normally synthesized by the liver the most abundant steroid in animal tissues
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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.
Will This Recommendation Catch On In The United States
Health care providers often do what they are used to doing, so it may take a while for some to change to nonfasting cholesterol tests. But we also need to realize that there are advantages to this evidence-based change. Switching to nonfasting cholesterol testing is actually the path of least resistance for patients and clinicians. It also provides a more accurate lipid profile for individual patients.
I believe that getting the word out to clinicians, lab directors, and patients will be enough to make the switch to nonfasting cholesterol tests in a fairly short time.
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Blood Test Measurement Abbreviations
When you look at your blood work, you might see some abbreviations like pg or mmol/L. While confusing, these are abbreviations for the measurements for blood tests. Explore the various blood test measurement abbreviations.
- CMM – Cells Per Cubic Millimeter
- Da – Dalton
- fL – Femtoliter
- g/dL – Grams Per Deciliter
- IU/L – International Units Per Liter
- kPa – kilopascal
How Much Does The Test Cost
There is no standard price for a total cholesterol test. The cost depends on where you take the test as well as coverage that may be provided by your insurance.
Costs of testing can include the office visit, the fee for the technician to draw your blood, and the actual laboratory analysis. If your doctor recommends a cholesterol test, these costs are typically covered by insurance, but, depending on your plan, you may be responsible for copays or a deductible. Your doctor and insurance plan can provide more specific information about your costs for cholesterol testing.
A point-of-care cholesterol test at pharmacies or health clinics may cost around $100 or less. This kind of test may be free at community health fairs or similar events.
There is a wide price range for at-home test kits. Many models include a small device to conduct the test and cost under $150, but more expensive options are available. Kits commonly come with extra test strips that allow you to check your cholesterol more than once.
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Why Is A Cholesterol Test Useful
A cholesterol test serves as a tool to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.
The test enables a doctor to measure and analyze the levels of fats in the blood. If there is too much cholesterol in the blood, the doctor may recommend treatment to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
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.
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Introducing Blood Test Codes
Its natural that we dont always understand the things our doctors tell us or the things we read online about our health. The world of health and medicine and its language is highly complex, specific, and technical, and is full of terms and expressions we dont encounter much in everyday life.
However, when you are trying to understand your own health or something like your blood test results we get that all of this can be a little frustrating. Sometimes you just want clarity. It is your health, after all.
Thats why were here to lead you through the specialised language of medicine. In this article, were looking at some of the common blood test codes and abbreviations that you should understand. Because understanding your blood tests means understanding the state of your well-being too.
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.
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Some Blood Test Codes And Abbreviations You Need To Know
Blood tests are a crucial window onto your health. But while your doctor or whoever administers your test should explain to you what they all mean, these tests are not exactly the simplest things in the world. Instead, they engage with and monitor the very smallest, most specific biological processes in your body or all the things that go to make up that thing called your health.
So, here are some of the blood test codes and abbreviations that you might encounter. We hope that they help you understand whats going on in your body that little bit better.
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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How Is A Cholesterol Test Done
A cholesterol test is a simple blood test. Usually, you will be asked to fast for about 10-12 hours before the test but not more than 16 hours. The test is therefore often done in the morning after an overnight fast. It is usually recommended to drink some water during this time, to avoid dehydration, and you will usually be allowed to take your regular medicines. The pathology service that does your blood test or your doctor will be able to advise you of the exact requirements. If you have diabetes, you should seek your doctors advice before fasting.
Blood will be sent to the lab for testing, and the results will be sent to your doctor.