Cholesterol Readings & Tests Explained

It is a good idea to have your level of cholesterol checked periodically. You will receive a cholesterol reading that consists of your total cholesterol level, lipoprotein levels, triglycerides and high density lipoprotein cholesterol level. This will give your physician an overall picture of your health.

Your physician will want three different levels checked t give him a combined reading. It is recommended that you have the cholesterol levels of the three which is the total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol monitored and checked. The best total cholesterol reading is 200mg with a limit of 200 mg to 239mg. Experts predict you are at risk of having heart disease if you have a total of 240mg above cholesterol readings.

LDL Cholesterol

Low density lipoprotein is known as bad cholesterol. If you have high levels of bad cholesterol, it can cause cholesterol deposits in the walls of your blood which increase the risk of possible heart disease. The desirable LDL cholesterol level is below 200 milligrams. The borderline limit of LDL is between 200-240m. A dangerous level is considered to be 240 mg.

HDL Cholesterol

Good cholesterol is the high density lipoprotein. High density lipoprotein cleanses excess cholesterol from tissues to the liver. The liver then breaks it down and it becomes part of the bile for removal. A recommended HDL level is 40mg. You must try to keep your HDL level within 40mg to 45mg. Also keep in mind that it should never dip below 40g. A level above 60mg protects the heart and helps improve brain functions because it protect the blood vessels.


Triglycerides are a type of fat. It collects in the body as fat and then flows into the blood stream. Most fats in our diet are triglycerides. Triglycerides contribute to of heart disease. In high dosages, it thickens the blood and may cause a heart attack or stroke due to clotting of the blood. The recommended triglyceride level is 150 below with a limit of 150 to 199. It should not exceed 200 above.

Keep in mind when reading your cholesterol level, there are no ideal readings. Ideal readings are different for everyone. It depends on the individual’s risk factor or genetic predisposition due to family history, sex, overall health condition and age.

Though physicians recommend if you have a total reading of over 240mg, it is an indication of a lifestyle change. This will increase your risk of having heart problems. If you have a history of high cholesterol, you should be checked every one to two years. Make sure you are doing everything possible to assure that you maintain a health lifestyle so that you can live a long and healthy life.

What Cholesterol Tests Entail

Have you ever had your cholesterol checked? Did you know that cholesterol tests are different from other tests? The test is more specific to calculate the risk of heart disease rather than diagnosing or monitoring it. If you are at risk for heart disease, you most surely want to have advance notice so that you can take medications, improve your diet and exercise so that you live a long and healthy life.

Experts state that hardening of the blood vessels is associated with high cholesterol. This is due to the LDL cholesterol or low lipoproteins that accumulate in the blood stream and is the main causes of heart disease. As a preventive measure, you should have your cholesterol level checked on a regular basis. It is in your best interest to have it checked regularly.

Experts recommend taking the cholesterol tests every three to five years if they have been diagnosed with high blood cholesterol. This is most generally done in combination of routine physical. Cholesterol tests are usually done with other tests. These include HDL which is the test for good cholesterol and LDL, which is the test for bad cholesterol.

Blood samples are taken and other tests are done to be analyzed by a cholesterol testing device. Cholesterol tests are performed several times a year for those who are on a special diet or low calorie diet and for others who are taking cholesterol medications. Cholesterol tests are done to document the progress in lowering cholesterol.

Generally, if you have taken a cholesterol test you already know that the results are grouped according to:

* Ultimate – a cholesterol level of 200 mg or below is desirable because there is a low risk of heart disease.

* Borderline and on the high side-- a total cholesterol level of 200 mg to 240 mg is at risk of getting heart disease. If you are in this range, your doctor will more than likely request additional tests are done.

* Red Flagged as High Risk – a 240 mg cholesterol level is considered to be at a very high risk of getting heart disease. Your physician will more than likely request additional tests such as a lipid profile. More than likely, you will be given a prescription for cholesterol medication along with the recommendation that you start on a low cholesterol diet.

Cholesterol tests are done when your are healthy because the cholesterol level of an individual who is ill will more than likely be very low. Physicians recommend that you wait at least six to eight weeks after an illness before any tests are done. If you are unsure, speak to your physician directly so that the test will be accurate.

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