What Cholesterol Tests Entail
Have you ever had your cholesterol checked? Did you know that cholesterol tests are different from other tests? The test is more specific to calculate the risk of heart disease rather than diagnosing or monitoring it. If you are at risk for heart disease, you most surely want to have advance notice so that you can take medications, improve your diet and exercise so that you live a long and healthy life.
Experts state that hardening of the blood vessels is associated with high cholesterol. This is due to the LDL cholesterol or low lipoproteins that accumulate in the blood stream and is the main causes of heart disease. As a preventive measure, you should have your cholesterol level checked on a regular basis. It is in your best interest to have it checked regularly.
Experts recommend taking the cholesterol tests every three to five years if they have been diagnosed with high blood cholesterol. This is most generally done in combination of routine physical. Cholesterol tests are usually done with other tests. These include HDL which is the test for good cholesterol and LDL, which is the test for bad cholesterol.
Blood samples are taken and other tests are done to be analyzed by a cholesterol testing device. Cholesterol tests are performed several times a year for those who are on a special diet or low calorie diet and for others who are taking cholesterol medications. Cholesterol tests are done to document the progress in lowering cholesterol.
Generally, if you have taken a cholesterol test you already know that the results are grouped according to:
* Ultimate – a cholesterol level of 200 mg or below is desirable because there is a low risk of heart disease.
* Borderline and on the high side-- a total cholesterol level of 200 mg to 240 mg is at risk of getting heart disease. If you are in this range, your doctor will more than likely request additional tests are done.
* Red Flagged as High Risk – a 240 mg cholesterol level is considered to be at a very high risk of getting heart disease. Your physician will more than likely request additional tests such as a lipid profile. More than likely, you will be given a prescription for cholesterol medication along with the recommendation that you start on a low cholesterol diet.
Cholesterol tests are done when your are healthy because the cholesterol level of an individual who is ill will more than likely be very low. Physicians recommend that you wait at least six to eight weeks after an illness before any tests are done. If you are unsure, speak to your physician directly so that the test will be accurate.