Posted September 30, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read
Testing a person’s cholesterol levels is an easy way to check their risk of developing heart disease. If the results show that a person has high cholesterol, a doctor may prescribe medication, recommend lifestyle changes, or both.
What is a cholesterol test?
A cholesterol test is also called a lipid profile.
This blood test measures the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
This information can help doctors determine whether plaque has built up in a person’s arteries.
A complete cholesterol test measures the following four types of fats in the blood:
Total cholesterol level
This is the total cholesterol in a person’s blood.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
People often refer to this type as
bad cholesterol because it can build up in the arteries, raising the risk of heart attack and stroke.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
Doctors call this
good cholesterol because it helps keep the arteries clear of LDL cholesterol.
These are fats in the bloodstream that give the body energy. If the body does not use these fats, the body stores them. High levels can indicate a risk of heart disease and other health problems.
Why is a cholesterol test useful?
A cholesterol test serves as a tool to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke.
The test enables a doctor to measure and analyze the levels of fats in the blood.
If there is too much cholesterol in the blood, the doctor may recommend treatment to lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Procedure of cholesterol test
A cholesterol test is a fairly simple procedure.
It involves drawing blood from a vein, and the procedure is the same as that of most other blood tests.
Prior to drawing blood, a technician will examine the arm to locate a suitable vein and clean the area with antiseptic.
They will then wrap a band around the arm, near where the puncture site will be, to help the vein fill with blood.
The technician will then insert a needle into the vein, and blood will collect in a vial.
They will remove the band while the needle is still in place.
When there is enough blood in the vial, the technician will remove the needle and hold a cotton swab on the insertion site to stop the bleeding.
They may then cover the area with a small bandage.
After the test, there are no special considerations.
Most people can continue with their day immediately after the cholesterol test and drive themselves home if necessary.
It is possible that the needle insertion site may become infected, but this is extremely unusual, only occurring in very rare cases.
Who should undergo cholesterol test?
Some people have an increased risk of developing high cholesterol and may need additional testing. These individuals include:
People with a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol
Anyone who had high cholesterol levels in a previous test
People with type 2 diabetes
Individuals with excess body weight
Those with reduced mobility or low physical activity levels
People whose diet is high in saturated and trans fats
People who smoke