Cholesterol Testing Can Preserve Your Health

Have you ever taken a cholesterol blood test – either with a home cholesterol test kit or at a cholesterol screening clinic? If your diet is high in fat and low in fiber, or you are overweight or over 55, then perhaps it is time for you to go for cholesterol testing.

Cholesterol Tests are not the typical tests you undergo to diagnose an illness. Rather, it is a way to determine your risk of getting heart problems and related diseases that are classified as dangers of high cholesterol. By undergoing cholesterol testing you would recognize your present blood cholesterol level and be able to work to prevent certain health problems.

Cholesterol testing is usually a part of an annual executive or physical check-up. If you have undergone a yearly physical examination then that part of your exam result that says lipid profile or lipoprotein analysis (which includes tests on your LDL and HDL cholesterol as well as triglyceride levels) is the one referred to as the cholesterol test.

Since cholesterol tests are blood tests, you can expect some pricking to occur. Certain tests also require a period of fasting beforehand. Blood will be drawn out of a vein in order to test the levels of cholesterol or fatty deposits in your blood. It will be analyzed in a lab to properly identify what your cholesterol levels are. Cholesterol levels are defined in three categories:

  • Desirable –200 mg/dL cholesterol level
  • Borderline - 200 mg/dL to 240 mg/dL cholesterol level
  • High Risk – above 240 mg/dL cholesterol level

Since elevated cholesterol comes in different forms, people who are found to belong in the borderline and high risk bands may be further asked to undergo a lipid profile test to determine what form of cholesterol is actually giving the reading. Those at high risk will most definitely have to undergo some changes in their diet and lifestyle and may even be prescribed medicines to help lower their cholesterol. Normal levels constitute the following, as per the National Institute of Health:

  • HDL
    Man – 40mg/dL above
    Woman – 50mg/dL above
  • LDL – 100mg/dL
  • Triglycerides – 150mg/dL
  • total cholesterol - 200mg/dL

You can go to a clinic or a hospital to undergo cholesterol testing. In addition, there are kits for home cholesterol testing which can determine your total level of cholesterol either through a color chart or some kind of indicator. However, you have to ask the opinion of your doctor on this as there are issues on the accuracy of the results of home testing kits.

Cholesterol testing is normally done when the person is in his or her healthy state. Doctors recommend that you should go for a cholesterol test at least once in every 5 years. Regular tests are desired for those already diagnosed with unhealthy cholesterol levels. Taking the tests when you have just recovered from an illness is not advisable because your cholesterol levels may likely be very low, rendering the test results inaccurate in the picture they present.

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