High 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:
- 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