Cholesterol Advice

Blood Cholesterol Test/ Total cholesterol Test

The cholesterol test is a test used to determine the levels of harmful crystalline hydrocarbon compound found in animal tissue and a variety of foods in your bloodstream. The primary objective of the test is to estimate the risk of developing diseases (such as blocking of the arteries and the chances of this resulting in a cardiac arrest).

Who is tested and why?

The cholesterol test is prescribed to all adults once every five years. It is usually done in conjunction with a routine physical exam in the form of lipid profile which includes tests like HDL-C Test, LDL-C Test, and triglycerides Test. Thus blood cholesterol test is usually called as Total cholesterol test.

For those who eat a diet which is low in fats and cholesterol laden things and who exercise regularly, the test can be done every five years. However, for those who eat fat rich diet regularly and do not workout, the test is to be conducted at least three to four times a year. This is to ensure that their cholesterol level is not shooting up rapidly. Cholesterol screening is also conducted frequently in the following cases:

* People who are suffering from hypertension (especially those whose blood pressure is 140/90 or above and/or are taking medications for high blood pressure).
* People who smoke cigarettes.
* Men who are over 45 years and women who are above 55 years.
* Those with pre-existing heart disease or who have already experienced a heart attack.
* Those whose familial history shows premature development of heart disease (heart disease in an immediate family member—male relative under age 55 or female relative under age 65)
* Those who are suffering from diabetes mellitus.
* Children and teens with risk factors for heart diseases are also recommended to check their cholesterol levels.

How sample is collected for testing?

Generally a blood sample is obtained from a vein in the arm using an injection. However when test is meant to be taken for a digital device, a sample is drawn by puncturing the skin on a finger tip.

What is measured in a Cholesterol test?

The screening of cholesterol levels in the bloodstream helps in creating an accurate lipid profile (which is nothing but a reading of the levels of triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein and high-density lipoprotein).

Indications of Test results

Following can be inferred from the test results.
* Cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL (5.18 mmol/L) or below is something which is highly desirable. It reflects good health and a lower risk of heart disease.

* Cholesterol level in the range of 200 to 239 mg/dL (5.18 to 6.18 mmol/L) suggests a very moderate risk to your health. Whether to do a lipid profile or not is something which your doctor would decide.

* Those whose cholesterol levels are more than or equal to 240 mg/dL (6.22 mmol/L) are in the high-risk zone. A lipid profile is a must to determine the cause of high cholesterol in their blood. The physician would be able to suggest an appropriate course of treatment once the real causes are known.

If you have more doubts, read FAQs related to cholesterol test.