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Cholesterol Test How to Interpret Results?

There is definitely no need to emphasize once more all the health concerns associated with high cholesterol level. However, it should be noted that high cholesterol may sometimes be difficult to uncover, because it does not show any symptoms until the problem becomes really serious. Under such circumstance the importance of regular cholesterol check is hard to overestimate. That is why, it is necessary for us to make a short guide on cholesterol test and interpretation of its results.

Usually people are informed about their cholesterol levels by their doctors. However, it is also not rare that people do not understand what the results mean. Of course, you can always ask your doctor to explain your cholesterol tests results. But on the other hand you can also make use of this article to understand your personal test results.

First of all let us define what aspects of one’s blood fat profile are evaluated during the cholesterol test.

LDL cholesterol stands for Low-Density Lipoproteinand is commonly referred to as “bad” cholesterol. This kind of cholesterol increases your risks of developing heart diseases, coronary artery disease, or arteries problems (atherosclerosis). If you have too much of “bad” cholesterol, it could be a problem because cholesterol may be deposited on the arteries walls. As a result of such deposits atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries” develops.

When we talk about “good” cholesterol we mean HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein). This type of cholesterol is considered to be “good” one because it helps to prevent “bad” cholesterol from building up in the arteries. HDL consists mostly of protein and a small amount of fat. If you want to raise your HDL level you have to eat balanced meals, do physical exercises and stop using tobacco. Only following a healthy lifestyle can help you raise your HDL cholesterol level without taking medicines.

The sum of your HDL and LDL is called total cholesterol.

Now let us talk about the cholesterol test itself. If you want to know your level of cholesterol you need a blood test. With the blood test results you can check whether you have high cholesterol or not.

There are two types of cholesterol test: a total cholesterol test and a lipoprotein analysis. The first one checks only the total cholesterol amount and tells you whether you have high or low level of cholesterol. There is no need to fast before making this type of test. The second one, namely a lipoprotein analysis, is a bit more complicated test. It evaluates the levels of your good cholesterol (HDL), bad cholesterol (LDL) and also triglyceride level. You have to fast for 9-12 hours before making this test.

Here a question on triglyceride may arise since we didn’t mention it before. Well, it is a kind of fat found in the blood along with cholesterol. Though it is important for certain body functions, having high level of triglyceride may increase a risk of coronary artery disease (CAD).

In order to interpet your cholesterol test analysis and understand what all those figures mean, please, refer to the table below. It defines what levels are considered to be normal, borderline or abnormal referring to all three constituents of total cholesterol: HDL, LDL and triglycerides.

Desirable, mg/dl
Borderline high, mg/dl
Bad result, mg/dl
200 or less
200 to 239
240or above
60 or higher
Below 40
Bellow 100
130 to 159
160 to 189, 190 and above
Less than 150
200 or more

This table may help you understand your test result. If you see bad results don’t hesitate to visit a doctor. It is better to keep in mind that preventing health disorders and eliminating any risk factors is often easier than curing those disorders. Start controlling your cholesterol level as soon as possible. This will help to manage cholesterol more effectively. And, of course, cholesterol test is the first-line factor for a doctor to define the right treatment, if necessary.


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