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Everything You Should Know about Testing Cholesterol Levels in the Blood
Everything You Should Know about Testing Cholesterol Levels in the Blood

Everything You Should Know about Testing Cholesterol Levels in the Blood

Doctors providing health check up at Medical Express Clinic explain that cholesterol is essential for the body to work properly. Basically it is a soft, waxy fat; excess quantity of cholesterol is harmful and leads to severe health conditions like:

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a condition in which the arteries get clogged, preventing the smooth flow of blood.

Men should get their cholesterol level checked regularly starting from age 35 or even younger. On the other hand, women should start routine cholesterol screening from age 45 or younger. To be on the safer side, you should take the screening every 5 years starting from age 20.

While people diagnosed with heart disease, blood sugar, high blood pressure, stroke or taking medicines to control their cholesterol level should take this screening every year. 

High risk from high cholesterol

You are at high risk of developing high cholesterol under any of the following conditions:

  • Family history of heart disease or high cholesterol.
  • Suffering from obesity or over-weight.
  • Habitual consumption of alcohol.
  • Habitual smoker.
  • Lead an inactive and sedentary lifestyle.
  • Diagnosed with either a kidney problem, blood sugar, POS or poly cystic ovary syndrome or underactive thyroid gland.

What a cholesterol test measures

A complete lipid profile or cholesterol test measures 4 types of lipid or fat in the blood.

  • Total cholesterol – the total quantity of cholesterol present in the blood.
  • LDL (low-density cholesterol) cholesterol – also called ‘bad cholesterol’, excessive amount of it in your blood raises your chances of suffering from a heart attack, atherosclerosis and stroke.
  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol – also called ‘good cholesterol’ as it plays an important role in removing LDL cholesterol from your blood.
  • Triglycerides – foods that you eat give you calories and your body stores the excess calories by converting it into triglycerides.

Doctors providing private health check in London have something important to add in the ongoing context. People who are over-weight, obese, eat too much sweets or consume excess amounts of alcohol regularly have higher chances of high triglyceride levels in their blood.

Preparation for cholesterol test

In certain cases, the doctors can ask the individual to fast before taking a cholesterol test. Instead of taking a complete lipid profile, if you are having only the HDL and total cholesterol levels checked you do not need to fast. In a complete lipid profile, it is a must that you fast completely other than drinking water for at least 9 to 12 hours before taking the test.

Before taking the test, make sure that your doctor has the following information:

  • Any health issues or symptoms you are going through.
  • Your family history on heart disease.
  • All medicines and health supplements that you are taking presently.

Contraceptive pills raise the cholesterol level in the blood. If you are taking such medications, it is likely that the doctor can instruct you to stop taking them for few days before the test.

Cholesterol test procedure

To perform a cholesterol test, a sample of your blood is required. The required sample is usually drawn from your vein in the morning after you have fasted overnight.

This blood test is completely an outpatient procedure and hardly takes a few minutes.Nervous people can be rest assured that the procedure is painless.

Different options of taking the blood test

  • Cholesterol test at your neighbourhood pharmacy costs anywhere between £4 and £20.
  • For at-home test, you have to part with any amount between£12 and £20.
  • Test in which the sample has to be sent to a lab can be anything between£60 and £156.

A hairline chance of risk exists in drawing a blood sample for a cholesterol test. Slight fainting, pain or soreness at the injection site are common. Chances of minor infection at the puncture site cannot be completely ruled out either.

Cholesterol test result analysis

Cholesterol levels in the blood are measured in milligrams (of cholesterol present in) per decilitre of blood.

Point to note: Milligram is denoted by mg and decilitre by dL.

  • Ideal LDL measurement in adults is 70 to 130 mg/dL (the lower the LDL level is, the better).
  • Ideal HDL measurement in adults is between 40 and 60 mg/dL (the lower the HDL level is, the better).
  • Ideal total cholesterol level for adults is anything below 200 mg/dL (the lower the reading is, the better).
  • Ideal triglyceride level in adults is between 10 and 150 mg/dL (the lower it is, the better).

People with cholesterol levels beyond the normal range have greater chances of a stroke, heart disease and atherosclerosis. Doctors usually prescribe a blood glucose test or test for diabetes for people with abnormal cholesterol levels in the blood. Thyroid function test is also prescribed in such cases to know if the thyroid is under-performing.

Reliability of cholesterol tests

In certain instances, the test can giveyou incorrect results. One of the most common procedures of calculating the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood often produces inaccurate results. In addition to that, certain other factors are also known to affect the test results, which include improper fasting and human error. Testing for both LDL and HDL levels is more reliable than testing only for LDL.

What next

It is important to control high levels of LDL cholesterol in the blood to avoid problems like clogging in blood vessels and heart disease. The condition of high cholesterolis mostly treated with controlled lifestyle and medicines.

Tips to lower your cholesterol levels

  • Quit smoking.
  • Cut down alcohol consumption although avoiding it completely is even better.
  • Avoid food items rich in fat or sodium otherwise maintain a well-balanced diet.
  • Include lots of crunchy green vegetables, fresh fruits, low-protein items, whole grains and dairy products low in fat in your everyday diet.
  • Maintain an exercise regimen regularly.

If you are detected with cholesterol levels beyond the normal range, do not hesitate asking your private doctor in the UK to help you out. These days TLC diet or therapeutic lifestyle changes is a popular approach to deal with such cases. The meal plan allows you to get just 7% of the daily calories from saturated fat while you get less than 200 mg cholesterol from your daily diet.

If you are serious and dedicated, controlling high levels of cholesterol is never difficult. Apart from medicines that lower the cholesterol levels, lifestyle changes, proper meal plan, regular workouts and certain other factors prove helpful in this aspect.