Cholesterol is a substance that our body naturally produces. In many situations, it’s actually essential for us. High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) are a type of ‘scavenger’ cholesterol that travels along your bloodstream, mopping up any excess cholesterol it finds. High levels of HDL actually lowers your risk of heart disease. However, Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) are the type of cholesterol you want to avoid. LDL cholesterol lines the insides of your blood vessels, constricting the flow of blood. This increases your blood pressure, increases your risk for a stroke and of developing coronary heart disease. Detecting your cholesterol levels early is crucial if you want to take active steps towards leading a long, healthy life.
When Should You Get A Cholesterol Test?
It might come as a surprise, but the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends you start getting cholesterol tests done as early as the age of 20.
Should You Fast Before A Test?
Most doctors will recommend that you fast for at least 12 hours before your cholesterol test. Cholesterol tests measure your total cholesterol levels along with your triglyceride levels. Both these
What Happens During The Test?
If you’ve ever had a blood test before, a cholesterol test is exactly like that. Your body’s cholesterol levels are measured through a blood sample. A healthcare attendant will use a needle to draw your blood, collect it in a vial and send it to the lab for analysis. How painful this procedure is depends entirely on your threshold for pain. It is usually painless and you’ll probably only feel a pinch. After
What Do Your Results Mean?
When you get back your test results, your analysis will most likely include a total lipid profile. A total lipid profile measures four parameters: your total cholesterol levels, your LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and your triglyceride levels. Here’s how you can interpret what these levels mean.
Total Cholesterol Levels
Normal: 200 mg/dL or less
Borderline: 200-239 mg/dL
Dangerous: Higher than 240 mg/dL
LDL Cholesterol Levels
Normal: 100 mg/dL or less
Borderline: 130 t0 159 mg/dL
Dangerous: Higher than 160 mg/dL
HDL Cholesterol Levels
Optimum: 60 mg/dL or higher
Normal: 40 mg/dL for men and 50 mg/dL for women
Low: 39 mg/dL or less
Normal: 149 mg/dL or less
Borderline: 150 to 199 mg/dL
Dangerous: 200 mg/dL or more
What Happens After The Results?
If your results are completely normal, congratulate yourself and continue living a healthy lifestyle. However, if your results fall under the borderline or dangerous range, your doctor will recommend some serious lifestyle changes. You will need to give up your sedentary lifestyle, exercise more and eat healthier. Your doctor might even put you on medication depending upon how high your cholesterol is.