A blood test for cholesterol, called a fasting lipoprotein profile, measures your levels of total cholesterol; LDL, also known as "bad” cholesterol; HDL, also known as "good” cholesterol; and a type of fat in your blood called triglycerides. This brochure describes the ideal test results for your blood cholesterol levels, and the risk factors for coronary heart disease.
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Blood Test for Cholesterol
Your health care provider may have asked you to get a blood test to measure your cholesterol. The National Institutes of Health cholesterol treatment guidelines recommend you have a blood test every five years if you are twenty years or older.
Your Lipoprotein Profile
The test, called a fasting lipoprotein profile, measures your levels of:
Fasting Is Important
During this test, a blood sample will be taken after you have not eaten for nine to twelve hours. Fasting ensures accurate test results.
Fasting (not eating for a period of time) before your test ensures accurate test results.
Ideal Cholesterol Goals
Your Goals May Vary
If you already have heart disease, and multiple or severe risk factors, your doctor may lower your LDL cholesterol goal to less than 70 mg/dL.
Your specific goals may vary depending on your health situation. Ask your doctor what your lipid goals should be.
Cholesterol Levels and Risk Factors for Heart Disease
If you have high blood cholesterol levels, you have a greater risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).
In heart disease, blood vessels called coronary arteries become narrowed, or blocked by a waxy substance containing cholesterol, called plaque.
Over time, plaque may reduce or block the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle, and cause a heart attack.
Heart Disease Risk Factors You Can Control
There are many known risk factors for heart disease. Risk factors you can control include:
Heart Disease Risk Factors You Can't Control
Risk factors you can't control include:
The information in this handout has been created and peer reviewed by graduate-level medical illustrators, followed by reviews from medical subject experts, either physicians or PhDs on the Nucleus Medical Review Board, to ensure medical accuracy and audience level appropriateness.
The handout is intended to supplement the information you receive from your health care provider and should never be considered personal medical advice. Always contact your health care provider with health questions and concerns.