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It’s National Cholesterol Education Month: Have You Been Screened?

Question MarkHigh cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. If you don’t know your blood cholesterol level, now is a perfect time to get screened.

All adults over the age of 20 should ask their doctor to order a fasting lipoprotein profile. This test measures the total cholesterol, HDL (good cholesterol) LDL (bad cholesterol), and triglycerides. The test should be conducted after fasting for 12-14 hours without liquid, food or pills.

A small amount of blood will be drawn from your arm in order to conduct the test.
The blood sample is analyzed at a laboratory. Your doctor will receive a report showing your cholesterol level in milligrams per deciliter of blood.

The numbers can be interpreted based on risk factors, including:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • High blood pressure
  • Whether you are a smoker

You may need to have the test done more often than once every five years in many circumstances, including:

  • You are a woman over the age of 50 or a man over the age of 45
  • Your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or more
  • Your good (HDL) cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dL
  • Your doctor has told you that you have other risk factors for heart disease and stroke