Your cholesterol level is one of many factors that can affect your heart health. Those of us with dyslipidemia, otherwise known as high cholesterol, may have no symptoms at all. This is why it’s extremely important that we have our cholesterol levels checked regularly by a clinician to avoid developing complications. For instance, changes in cholesterol levels can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
So, how do we test our cholesterol levels?
To check cholesterol levels, your care team will give you a simple blood test. Once you know your results, you and your care team can make a plan to help you make good decisions about your health. Let’s talk about what you should expect and how to prepare for your cholesterol check.
When you’re notified that you will be receiving a blood test, your care provider will let you know if you’ll need to fast before your test. Fasting is when you avoid food, beverages, or medications before the test, usually for about 9-12 hours leading up to the test.
What can I expect?
During the test, they will take a small sample of blood from your arm or finger. If additional blood is needed, the extra samples are typically taken at that time. Rest assured, you should experience very little pain or discomfort during this test.
After the sample is taken, it will be brought to a lab where they will determine the levels of HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol), and triglycerides. From there, your clinician will analyze your test results and other risk factors like your age, sex, family history, and other health conditions which helps them determine whether treatment or medication is necessary. But don’t forget, a healthy diet and lifestyle can contribute to healthy cholesterol levels!
That was a breeze! What’s next?
It is generally recommended that you have your cholesterol checked every 4-6 years. After that, depending on your results and risk factors, you should work with your clinician to determine how often you should have your cholesterol checked.
If you have any questions about getting your cholesterol checked or anything else, reach out to your Health Advisor! We’re here to make this health journey easy and fun!