Cholesterol Testing

How it is Used?
Cholesterol testing is different from most of the tests. This test is used not to monitor or diagnose a disease but it is used for estimating the risk of developing a disease, especially heart disease. High blood cholesterol is associated with heart disease, atherosclerosis (arteries hardening) and increased risk of death due to heart attacks.

When is the test ordered?

Cholesterol test is recommended to undergo at least once every five years for adults. It is done frequently in addition with a physical exam. Usually, this test is ordered in combination with tests including LDL-C, HDL-C and triglycerides, called a lipid profile.

People who have been prescribed drugs and diet undergo the test more frequently. The test helps to determine how well the prescription is working to lower cholesterol to normal levels and reducing the risk of heart attack.

Cholesterol testing can be recommended to people who have risk factors for heart disease. Risk factors may include:

  • Age (women beyond 55 years or men beyond 45 years)
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Hypertension (140/90 blood pressure or higher or intake of medications for high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Family history of heart disease
  • Already existing heart disease or being experienced a heart attack

Usually cholesterol testing is not ordered routinely for those who are under age of 20 years and at low risk. However, screening test for high cholesterol as a lipid profile part is recommended for youth and children who are at high risk of developing a heart disease as adults. Risk factors include:

  • Obesity or being overweight: If the body mass index of teens is above or at 85th percentile, test for cholesterol is recommended. Consult your doctor at least once a year and get calculated your BMI. For youth who is an Obese, laboratory tests are recommended at least once every two years to measure the cholesterol levels.
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history
  • Consuming high amounts of saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fats.

Some risk factors of teens are similar to risk factors of adults.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who are at high risk should undergo cholesterol test between two and ten years old.

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