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Screening for Lipid Disorders

The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.

Screening Guidelines

The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends screening for lipid disorders at least once every 5 years starting at age 20. More frequent or earlier testing may be recommended if you have:

  • A family history of elevated lipid levels
  • Other risk factors or conditions known to increase lipid levels
  • A complication that could have resulted from elevated lipid levels

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends screening for children ages 9-11 years old and children 17-21 years old. For children of other ages, screening is only suggested if they have an increased risk factors such as:

  • Have family history of heart disease or stroke in family members < 55 years old in males or < 65 years old in females
  • Have parents with total cholesterol ≥ 240 mg/dL (6.2 mmol/L) or lipid disorder
  • Have diabetes, high blood pressure, overweight, or obesity
  • Smoke cigarettes
  • Have moderate- or high-risk medical condition

Screening is not recommended in children under 2 years old.

Screening Tests

Cholesterol levels are checked with a blood test. A blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. You may need to fast for several hours before your blood is taken. The test measures levels of:

  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
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References:

Hypercholesterolemia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated December 19, 2016. Accessed March 13, 2017.
Hypertriglyceridemia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.... Updated February 2, 2017. Accessed March 13, 2017.
NHLBI integrated guidelines for pediatric cardiovascular risk reduction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated February 13, 2013. Accessed March 13, 2017.
Prevention and treatment of high cholesterol. American Heart Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated August 30, 2016. Accessed March 13, 2017.
Last reviewed March 2017 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 3/15/2015

 

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