Yacon Pure Extract

Yacon Pure Extract

Infrared Blood Circulation Massager

Infrared Blood Circulation Massager

Pure Dragons Blood Extracts

Pure Dragons Blood Extracts

Feather Disposable Blood Lancet

Feather Disposable Blood Lancet


Cholesterol Test

Alternate Names

  • total cholesterol
  • lipid profile


A cholesterol test measures the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. It is generally done along with blood tests that measure a person's triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, that is, "good" or "healthy" cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, that is, "bad" or "lethal" cholesterol. Cholesterol is a form of lipid (fat) in the body that is used for many body processes.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

A cholesterol test may be ordered to evaluate a person's risk for various conditions.
Adults 20 years or over should be tested every five years for cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides.
High cholesterol levels increase a person's risk for the following conditions:
  • arteriosclerosis, that is, narrowing of the arteries
  • coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • early death from heart disease
  • heart attack
  • stroke
A cholesterol test may also be ordered to evaluate disorders of the kidney, liver, or thyroid gland.

How is the test performed?

A blood sample needs to be taken in order to measure the level of blood cholesterol. The blood is usually drawn from a vein in the forearm or the hand. First, the skin over the vein is cleaned with an antiseptic. Next, a strong rubber tube called a tourniquet is wrapped around the upper arm. This enlarges the veins in the lower arm by restricting blood flow through them. A very thin needle is gently inserted into a vein and the tourniquet is removed. Blood flows from the vein through the needle and is collected in a syringe or vial. The sample is sent to the lab to be analyzed. After the needle is withdrawn, the puncture site is covered for a short time to prevent bleeding.

What is involved in preparation for the test?

A cholesterol test is generally done after the individual has fasted overnight.

What do the test results mean?

Total cholesterol results are evaluated as follows:
  • desirable range is less than 200 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL
  • borderline-high is 200 to 239 mg/dL
  • high cholesterol is 240 mg/dL or greater
Abnormally high levels of blood cholesterol may indicate the following:
  • atherosclerosis
  • biliary cirrhosis, which is scarring and blockage of the bile ducts
  • diet high in cholesterol, saturated fats, calories, or transfats
  • familial hyperlipidemia, a condition in which high blood lipids run in a family
  • heart attack
  • high stress
  • hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland
  • lack of exercise
  • nephrotic syndrome, which is a kidney disease resulting in loss of protein in the urine
  • overweight or obesity
  • uncontrolled diabetes
Abnormally low levels of cholesterol may indicate the following:
  • hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid gland
  • liver disease
  • malabsorption, or inadequate absorption of nutrients from the intestines
  • malnutrition
A person's LDL level is also extremely important in evaluating his or her risk for CHD.

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