The Cholesterol test is conducted along with lipid profile to evaluate the risk of developing a cardiovascular disease and for diagnosis of issues related to heart. Total Cholesterol test is also ordered along with HDL-C and LDL-C to check success of treatment. High blood cholesterol is linked with hardening of arteries, heart disease, and risk of death by heart attack. This test is also used for routine check-ups. Results of Total Cholesterol lead towards forming a treatment which is life style changes or lipid lowering drugs. This test is recommended to high risk individual with attributes like smoking, obesity, unhealthy diet, physically inactive, high BP, family history of heart disease and suffering from heart disease.
Types of Cholesterol Test
A full cholesterol panel test checks your cholesterol levels – total cholesterol as well as LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). The panel also checks the triglycerides level.
However, there is another, more accurate blood test to check cholesterol levels. Vertical Auto Profile or VAP test cholesterol provides a more comprehensive assessment of heart problem risks by measuring the LDL size and pattern density. It also measures the lipoprotein subclasses, which regular lipid panels cannot do.
Another accurate cholesterol test is the NMR cholesterol test or nuclear magnetic resonance test which has the capability to measure the particle number as well as size of the LDL.
How to Prepare for a Total Cholesterol Test
A full cholesterol panel test is usually given as a screening and monitoring test. A child should be given this test once when he is between 9 and 11 years old, once more between 17 and 21 years old, then regular checks especially if he is found to be at a higher risk for developing heart problems and disease. If he is healthy and has no risk factors, then this test could be done at least once after intervals of four or six years.
Prior to taking the test, you need to tell your physician if you are taking medications that could affect the values of the test, such as a birth control pill. Your doctor may also advise you to fast prior to the test, but this recommendation depends upon the types of Cholesterol test to be given. For example, full lipid profile or Total Cholesterol test requires that you fast. No water and no food for at least 9 to 12 hours before the test. If they’re just going to check the HDL and total cholesterol levels, then there is no need for fasting.
To check the lipid profile, a sample of your blood is usually taken. You can order an online Cholesterol test or have it during your visit with your doctor.
What the Results Mean
Normal lipid values are as follows:
Total cholesterol should be lower than 200 mg/dL.
LDL should be between 70 to 130 mg/dL.
HDL should be between 40 to 60 mg/dL.
Triglycerides should be between 10 to 150 mg/dL.
Of note, the lower the values, the better the results, except for HDL which should have a much higher value.
Understanding cholesterol lab results is relatively easy. If the values of the cholesterol levels fall between the normal ranges, then the results are okay. If the values are above the high limits of the range, then you are at a higher risk for developing heart diseases.
Other tests may be prescribed to check for diseases such as diabetes and thyroid problems.
Common Total Cholesterol Test Questions
Is it okay to drink some water prior to getting the full cholesterol panel test?
No. No liquid before a full cholesterol panel test.
Is it necessary to not eat anything before the test?
Yes. No food before a full cholesterol panel test.
LabEspy recommends Ulta Lab Tests, Save On Labs, Direct Labs for this test.