Do you know why cholesterol tests are different from other kinds of medical tests? It is because cholesterol tests are used to calculate the increased risk of heart disease rather that diagnosing or monitoring it. Experts said that the hardening of the blood vessels is associated with high blood cholesterol. It is because of the LDL cholesterol or low density lipoproteins that are accumulated in the blood stream and is one of the main causes of heart diseases. In order to prevent heart disease, one must take cholesterol tests.
Every individual should take the cholesterol tests every five years or more if they have been diagnosed of high blood cholesterol. This is regularly done in combination of routine physical examinations. Cholesterol tests are taken in concoction of other tests. These include HDL (high density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol), LDL (low density lipoprotein or “bad” cholesterol) and triglycerides or lipid profile.
Usually blood samples are taken from the veins of the fore arm though sometimes blood samples from the fingertips are taken. The blood sample take will then be analyzed by a cholesterol testing device. Cholesterol tests are done several times a year in those who are on a prescribed diet or low calorie diet and for those who are taking cholesterol lowering medications. Cholesterol tests are used to monitor the progress in lowering the cholesterol level.
If you have taken a cholesterol tests you already know that the test results are grouped in three types. These are the:
* Desirable – the cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL below is regarded to be desirable because it has a low risk of heart disease.
* Borderline high – a total cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL to 240 mg/dL is at fair risk of having heart disease. If you have this kind of cholesterol level, your doctor will more likely decide to let you have a lipid profile so that he will know which cholesterol level is high. Whether it is LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) or HDL (good cholesterol).
* High Risk – a 240 mg/dL cholesterol level is considered to be at high risk of heart disease. Expect a lipid profiling if your cholesterol level is this high. It is more likely that you will be given a prescribe cholesterol lowering medication along with a low cholesterol diet.
Cholesterol tests are usually given when the individual is healthy because the blood cholesterol level of an individual who has an acute illness, (after a heart attack or after surgery or accident) are likely to be low. Individuals are advised to wait at least six weeks after any illness before taking cholesterol tests. Pregnant women are also advised to wait six weeks before having their cholesterol level measured.