LDL Cholesterol Test

LDL cholesterol test is used to predict the risk of heart diseases. Out of all the kinds of cholesterol, the LDL cholesterol is one of the important types of cholesterol in determining the risk of coronary heart disease. High cholesterol treatment decisions are usually based on the values of LDL cholesterol, so this test can be used to check your cholesterol levels after one has started exercise programs, a diet or to monitor whether the cholesterol lowering drugs are helpful or not.

What do you understand by LDL cholesterol test result?

High levels of LDL cholesterol may cause heart diseases. The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), has evaluated LDL cholesterol levels as per the below table.

  • Below 2.59 mmol/L (100 mg/dL) – Optimal
  • 2.59-3.34 mmol/L (100-129 mg/dL) – Above optimal, near optimal
  • 3.37-4.12 mmol/L (130-159 mg/dL) – Borderline high
  • 4.15-4.90 mmol/L (160-189 mg/dL) – High
  • More than 4.90 mmol/L (189 mg/dL) – Very high

But, some of the major risk factors can even change the LDL levels. Treatment with drugs like statins or diet for high cholesterol levels aims to reduce the LDL cholesterol depending on your overall risk factors. Your desired target value should be:

  • If you have diabetes or heart disease, your LDL target value should be less than 100 mg/dL.
  • If you have more than two risk factors, your LDL target value should be less than 130 mg/dL.
  • If you have one risk factor or no risk factors, your LDL target value should be less than 160 mg/dL.
  • Some studies have also recommended that if you have had a stroke or a heart attack, or have heart disease, your LDL value should keep below 70 mg/dL.

Major risk factors:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Low HDL cholesterol levels (ie. below 40 mg/dL).
  • Age matters (above 55 years old in females and above 45 years old in males).
  • Hypertension –if you are under high blood pressure medications or have high blood pressure (ie. 140/90 or higher).
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Pre-existing coronary heart disease
  • Family history of heart diseases

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