Cholesterol Advice

Get Prepared for a Cholesterol Test

High cholesterol level increases the risk of coronary diseases and even puts you within the reach of heart attack and stroke. Considering the harmful effects of high cholesterol levels, getting your cholesterol checked at regular intervals is a must. Everybody should consider a cholesterol check once in every five years. Here is how to go about testing your cholesterol levels.

What is a cholesterol test?
A cholesterol test is a test that is aimed at measuring the different kinds of cholesterol levels present in your blood stream. The cholesterol test is a rough measure of the total cholesterol level and different kinds of cholesterol such as HDL, LDL and Triglycerides.

What happens in the cholesterol test?
In the cholesterol test a needle is inserted into your vein to draw out blood. This blood is then monitored to study your cholesterol levels.

An elastic band is wrapped around the upper arm. This enables the vein to swell with blood. The site where the needle is inserted is cleaned with an antiseptic. This is usually the back of the elbow or the back of the hand.

The needle is inserted into the vein and blood is collected into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. Once the blood is collected, the needle is removed and sent for further monitoring. The bleeding at time persists at the puncture site, which is then covered.

Why do you need a cholesterol level test?
High cholesterol level brings along the risk of coronary artery disease and can even lead to a heart attack. A cholesterol level test helps you get a fair idea of your risk of any possible heart stroke. If your cholesterol levels are not within the acceptable limit, a cholesterol level test will help you take the requisite action on time.

Preparing yourself for the test
Though it is the healthcare provider who shall be carrying out the test, some preparations need to be made on your part too. Ideally you should go for the test empty stomach. You should not eat anything at least nine to twelve hours before the test.

Try to drink as much water as you can before the test. However, make sure you avoid beverages such as tea, coffee or soda. These beverages can alter your cholesterol levels temporarily. Thus, your cholesterol levels may not show the accurate results.

Also you should avoid any medications prior to the test. There are some medications that can lead to an increase in your total cholesterol measurements. Some of these medicines include ACTH, anabolic steroids, birth control pills, vitamin D and several others.
While there are some medications that can show an inflated figure of your cholesterol levels, there are some that can show your cholesterol levels than it actually is. Cholesterol lowering medications such as statins will show an incorrect cholesterol level.