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Cholesterol Test: What You Need to Know?

By Dr.jenifer Sayyed @SayyedJenifer

Whenever we feel uneasy, lethargic, and are overweight, our closed ones recommend us to undergo a Cholesterol test which shows the amount of fat level in the body.

But have you ever bothered to know why exactly cholesterol tests are done for? And why it is so essential for a healthy life?

A piece of basic knowledge is important as it can guide you and your loved ones for a healthy lifestyle.  Therefore, let’s know about the Cholesterol test in brief.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance present naturally in your body and is vital for the body’s function to maintain good health.

The liver mainly produces cholesterol, but it also comes from foods derived from animals such as:

  • Red meat,
  • Poultry and,
  • Full-fat dairy products

Why Cholesterol is important?

Cholesterol is transported in your bloodstream through lipoproteins which are produced by the liver, but if found in excess (due to fatty food consumption, no physical exercise) then it can get deposited in your blood arteries and clog them.

If the level of cholesterol in your blood increases, then the risk to your health also increases. The risk factors are heart diseases, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.

Hence, it is important to undergo a cholesterol test to know your levels.


Also Read: Why Vitamin D intake is important during Lockdown?


Cholesterol: Good and Bad

There are two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in your blood.

  1. Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
  2. High-density lipoprotein, or HDL (“good” cholesterol)

Good cholesterol if less and bad if more will indicate the risk factors.

Cholesterol Test: What you need to know?
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Cholesterol Test

To know the level of each type of cholesterol in your body, you need to do a blood test known as Lipid Profile or Cholesterol test in layman’s word.

Lipid Profile Test (also known as a complete cholesterol test) will analyze the levels of good & bad cholesterol in the blood, which is an excellent indicator of the health risk factors. It will also evaluate fats in your blood.

The blood test will cover:

  • Total cholesterol
  • Triglycerides (a type of fat in your blood)
  • HDL cholesterol
  • LDL cholesterol

Is fasting required for Cholesterol test?

Yes, fasting is required for the proper interpretation of the blood report. Avoid eating and drinking (except for water) for 9-12 hours before the test.

That is why an early morning blood test is recommended as you can fast overnight.


Also Read: World Heart Day – Take Care of Your Heart


How to understand the test results?

It is important to understand the cholesterol test to know its significance and the treatment if required. Although your doctor will guide you, as I said earlier, even you should know what your results indicate.

Also in every diagnostic lab report, they always show the test values along with normal range. So it makes it easy to comprehend.

Total Cholesterol Ranges

Indication

Less than 200 mg/DL Normal

between 200-239mg/DL borderline high level that can be controlled

above the 240mg/DL high and should be treated immediately

Cholesterol Test: What you need to know?
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Prevention is better than cure

Do not wait for signs & symptoms, and go for a blood test at least once in a year as a preventive health check-up. According to the results, you can then manage your cholesterol by changes in diet and lifestyle.


Summary

Cholesterol is a fat produced by the liver mainly, which is carried to the bloodstream through lipoprotein. These lipoproteins are of 2 types- good and bad which can affect your health accordingly.

Through cholesterol test (lipid profile) the total cholesterol in your blood is evaluated and measured which then indicates the level and the risk factor if any.  You need to be on an empty stomach (fasting) for 9-12 hours before you go for a blood test.

A cholesterol test is a very essential marker that detects risk factors esp. related to heart, brain.

I have tried to explain it in simple terms. I hope you got it!

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Cholesterol Test: What you need to know?


Reference:

  • https://www.emedicinehealth.com/cholesterol_tests/article_em.htm
  • https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol
  • Featured image source: https://www.lifelinescreening.com/screening-services/high-cholesterol-screening
*Disclaimer: This post is meant for educational purposes only.

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