Medical professionals conduct a cholesterol test to learn about its quantity in the body, determining the presence of healthy and unhealthy cholesterol. It is crucial because unhealthy cholesterol can cause obesity and various other ailments. On the other hand, healthy cholesterol is essential for regulating certain functions such as Vitamin D, hormones, and enzymes that are beneficial for digestion.
A blood test is performed to find out the number of triglycerides and fat in our bloodstream. Consuming a light meal the night before a cholesterol test should be beneficial as it is necessary to fast 9-12 hours before the test. If you eat high-fat foods, it can affect the cholesterol test results, whereas eating healthy can provide you with the right results.
Components of cholesterol
Cholesterol is measured through a blood test, which is a pain-free process. The results are obtained within a week after analysis, which can include details about:
- High-density lipid
- Low-density lipid
High-density and low-density lipids contribute 20% to triglycerides. The doctors use these results to evaluate cardiovascular complications and other health problems associated with cholesterol. The doctors also recommend fasting for 9-12 hours the night before taking a cholesterol test. In addition, the individual must also avoid drinking or eating anything right before a cholesterol test.
How to prepare for a cholesterol test?
If you are taking medications for maintaining cholesterol levels, your doctor may not suggest that you fast. Your doctor may advise you to drink water and refrain from food and other drinks to enhance the accuracy of the results. In other circumstances, fasting is crucial. So, it is best to listen to the doctor’s advice and prepare accordingly.
How to read your results?
The total lipid profile is the test used to measure cholesterol. The test measures different types of cholesterol, and the risk varies depending on the cholesterol range.
Normal range of cholesterol in your blood
- Within normal limits:200 mg/dl
- Borderline:200 to 239 mg/dl
- High:240 mg/dl
Scores of HDL and LDL
1. HDL indicates high-density lipids, and LDL is low-density lipids. HDL is an estimate of good cholesterol in our body. The higher the reading, the better. The HDL measure should be 60mg/dl for optimal functioning.
2. The lower the score of the LDL, the better. A score below 70 mg/dl is conducive for people with cardiovascular disease or diabetes. In addition, a score below 100 mg/dl is ideal for people with no cardiovascular risk factors. Furthermore, 130-159 mg/dl is borderline high, and 160-180 mg/dl high with more than 190 mg/dl is very high. Lower triglyceride levels are a measure of good health.
Total low cholesterol is a measure of a good score of health rather than a higher one. For instance, cholesterol under 200 mg/dl is required for the optimal functioning of an individual. A score of 200-230 mg/dl is borderline high.
For an optimal or suboptimal cholesterol score, the physician would not recommend any changes in the lifestyle. But, suppose the cholesterol levels impede the healthy functioning of the individual. In that case, the physician suggests lifestyle changes, prescribes medicines to lower cholesterol, and advises to follow a diet that reduces the cholesterol levels to evade the risk of cardiovascular and diabetes.
The importance of a cholesterol test
The cholesterol combines with substances in the blood to form plaque that obstructs the arteries. The presence of cholesterol contributes to the following:
- Cardiovascular diseases such as angina
- Peripheral artery disease
- Carotid artery disease
Cholesterol screening is vital for men and women between the ages of 45-65. The test must be repeated every five years or so. A family history of cardiovascular ailments, physical inactivity, following unhealthy eating habits, smoking cigarettes. In such instances, people must get their cholesterol test done for early prevention of the disease.
A cholesterol test enables a person to understand their health condition appropriately for optimal functioning. The test provides insight into the parameters that are healthy and unhealthy and guidelines for following a healthy diet with exercise. A cholesterol test is vital for maintaining blood vessels and heart-healthy.