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Comprehensive Guide To Testing Cholesterol Levels [2021]

The cholesterol levels test is used to measure cholesterol and triglyceride levels using a blood sample. Your risk of developing cardiovascular disease can be increased by high cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Regular checks ups are recommended since there are no symptoms of high cholesterol.

High cholesterol or triglyceride levels can increase your risk of heart disease.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat formed in your body. , You need cholesterol to help you digest food and make hormones, vitamin D, and bile (helps food digestion). Your liver makes more cholesterol when it’s working well.

Cholesterol helps build cell membranes and forms part of the structure inside cells. It also plays an important role in keeping nerve fibers healthy. Too much cholesterol may cause high blood pressure, kidney problems, gallstones, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers.

Your body makes cholesterol by converting fat into cholesterol. Cholesterol comes from two sources; the foods that you eat and the amount stored inside your cells. Your liver also produces some cholesterol as needed for its own functions.

The most common form of cholesterol found in our bodies is called low-density lipoprotein. LDL particles are small lipid droplets made up of protein and cholesterol. They carry cholesterol around the bloodstream. High amounts of LDL cholesterol may lead to plaque build-up on artery walls which narrows arteries and reduces blood flow.

Reason to measure cholesterol

High cholesterol can make you more prone to a heart attack or stroke, something you don’t want to do.

A number of things can raise your cholesterol to a level that is not healthy.

  1. High levels of cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fats can be reached by eating high levels of these foods.
  2. No physical activity
  3. Profound smoking
  4. Excessive alcohol consumption
  5. Familial hypercholesterolemia – A genetic condition

Until a heart attack happens, there is no sign of high cholesterol. It’s recommended that you measure your cholesterol levels regularly.

If you have regular cholesterol tests, you’re more likely to be healthy. If you haven’t had a test recently, ask your doctor about getting one done. You might find out if you have any other health If issues you related find to out cholesterol about such any as changes gout, in kidney your stones health or status, gallbladder call trouble.

Below conditions are most likely recommended to have regular lipid profile test:

  • Obese individuals
  • Chain smokers
  • Patients with known heart conditions or hypercholesterolemia
  • Hypertensive patients, coronary artery disease, or diabetes mellitus
  • Track your cholesterol levels while you are on the medication.

Know how to test your cholesterol levels

You must collect a blood sample to test your cholesterol levels. There are few ways to perform this do:

  1. A blood test using a needle to puncture a vein in your arm is called a venous blood test.
  2. A finger-prick blood test using a lancet, you can prick your own finger and collect a small blood sample.

Cholesterol Testing Places 

Blood tests looking at lipids and cholesterol can be performed at the discretion of your MD. A doctor or nurse will take your blood. It’s possible to order a home cholesterol testing kit online and do it on your own. You will have to collect a finger-prick blood sample with a lancet. Your results will be reviewed by a doctor and can be accessed online. Online tests should never be in an attempt to remove your healthcare professional from the picture. They are there to augment not avoid.

The most important benefit of using an at-home service such as Lab Me is that your results are graphed and tracked over time.

 

Preparation Required for a cholesterol test

There are a couple of things you can do before a blood test so the process is as smooth as possible:

  1. Dehydration can affect your results and drinking a lot of water makes it easier to collect your blood sample.
  2. It’s easier to collect a finger-prick blood sample if you keep warm and jump on the spot for a minute.

It is possible that you need to fast before doing a cholesterol test.

Cholesterol Levels

Fasting before a cholesterol test

It’s a good idea to fast before a cholesterol test. Fasting is when you don’t eat or drink anything except for water for a period of up to 12 hours before your test. It is possible to make this part of the process easier by doing your test in the morning.

How is cholesterol measured?

You can get a cholesterol test that will look at the different types of fats in your blood. This includes your total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. An advanced cholesterol test will look at your lipoproteins’ size and number, as well as apolipoprotein which is a key component in the functioning of the immune system. This is believed to be a better predictor of heart disease risk than the total amount of cholesterol you have.

It’s possible that you’re at an increased risk of heart disease if you have more small, dense LDL particles. If you have a lot of smaller LDL particles, you’re at an increased risk for heart disease, even if your total cholesterol is not particularly high. Large and fluffy particles are thought to be less harmful than smaller particles.

The main protein found in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is apolipoprotein B. It’s another way to measure how many particles you have because each LDL particle has one apoB. Apolipoprotein A-1 is a key component in the production of good cholesterol.

Cholesterol test Values Defined

Your cholesterol results will show you a range of figures. It is important to look at all of them, not just your cholesterol. The cholesterol and triglyceride levels are sometimes measured in mmol/L of blood.

The ideal ranges can be used for many things.

  • This should be under 54 mg/dl for the low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
  • This should be above 16.2 mg/dl.
  • This should be below 30.5 mg/dl that’s what it should be.
  • The total cholesterol (HDL + LDL +) should be less than 90mg/dl
  • This should be below 72mg/dl, the total cholesterol/HDL ratio.

When your results are mg/dl, you can use the reference ranges for LDL particle size.

  • Less than 1.56 would be ideal.
  • The risk above 31.2 is high.
  • It is a very high risk above 47.1.

Risk Associated with High cholesterol

Hyperlipidemia is a condition in which your cholesterol levels are raised to the unhealthiest level. There’s a lot of evidence that shows a correlation between high cholesterol and other health problems.

  • CVA ( Stroke)
  • Heart Dysfunction
  • Typical or Atypical Angina 
  • Hypertension
  • Renal Diseases

Over half of people who have a heart attack have normal cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is only a part of the picture when it comes to heart disease. Your doctor will take into account many other factors when assessing your cardiovascular risks, such as your age, sex, and family history.

Management of Cholesterol Levels 

There are a lot of things you can do to lower your cholesterol. A healthy lifestyle can help lower or maintain cholesterol levels, and it can also help your overall health. You may have to combine lifestyle changes with medication. There are a lot of ways to lower cholesterol.

  • You can eat high-fiber foods like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Chicken, fish, and beans are popular sources of lean sources of protein.
  • It is advisable to eat oily fish, like salmon and mackerel.
  • Foods high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and trans fats should be avoided.
  • You should avoid fast food and fried foods.
  • It’s possible to raise your HDL “good” cholesterol by exercising regularly.
  • If you’re overweight, you should lose weight.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol.
  • Quit Smoking

In some cases, your doctor may give you medication to try to reduce your cholesterol level. Lowering cholesterol is one of the reasons prescribed medications are called statins. You can reduce the amount of cholesterol you take by taking other medications.

If you want to lower your cholesterol, you should try to follow a healthy lifestyle first and then try to take medication. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment for you.

If you have to take medication, it’s still important to follow the lifestyle changes recommended to further reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/symptoms-causes/syc-20350800

https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/index.htm

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-cholesterol

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