If you are watching this video, your health care provider has asked you or someone you know to get a blood test to measure your cholesterol levels.
The National Institutes of Health cholesterol treatment guidelines recommend you have a blood test every five years if you are twenty years or older.
The test, called a fasting lipoprotein profile, measures your levels of total cholesterol;
LDL, also known as “bad” cholesterol;
HDL, also known as “good” cholesterol;
and a type of fat in your blood called triglycerides.
During this test, a blood sample will be taken after you have not eaten for nine to twelve hours.
Fasting is important to ensure accurate results for this test.
The total cholesterol goal should be less than 200 milligrams per deciliter.
For most people, an ideal HDL, or “good” cholesterol, should be 60 or higher.
An ideal LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, should be less than 100.
And fasting triglycerides should be less than 150.
If you have high blood cholesterol levels, you have a greater risk of heart disease.
In heart disease, blood vessels called coronary arteries become narrowed, or blocked by a waxy substance containing cholesterol, called plaque.
Over time, plaque may reduce or block the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle, and cause a heart attack.
There are many known risk factors for heart disease. Risk factors you can control include:
high blood cholesterol, and triglycerides,
high blood pressure,
being overweight or obese,
smoking, lack of physical activity,
an unhealthy diet, and stress.
Risk factors you can’t control include:
age, gender, and having a family history of heart disease.
If you already have heart disease, and multiple or severe risk factors, your doctor may lower your LDL goal to less than 70.
Your specific goals may vary depending on your health situation. Ask your doctor what your lipid goals should be.