Cholesterol is one of the building blocks of a healthy cell. The body needs cholesterol, but excess amounts can lead to serious disease and complications. High cholesterol creates fat deposits in the bloodstream that prevent blood from flowing through the arteries. A person can end up having a stroke or heart attack due to blocked arteries.
Types of cholesterol
High cholesterol does not occur overnight. The condition develops over time as a person’s health and body deteriorate. There are certain risk factors that make people more susceptible to high cholesterol. Some of these include:
Lack of physical activity
Unhealthy eating habits
People with these risk factors must learn how to manage or change these conditions to prevent the development of high cholesterol. Doctors may prescribe medicine to high-risk patients and suggest lifestyle changes.
How do doctors test for high cholesterol?
To determine if a patient has high cholesterol, doctors perform a blood test. The blood sample is analyzed and a report is sent to the provider. The test looks for three types of cholesterol: HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. HDL is considered good cholesterol and LDL is bad cholesterol. High LDL levels lead to fatty buildups in the arteries. Triglycerides are a natural part of the body. This fat stores the energy the body needs to function. The test will reveal the amounts of HDL/LDL cholesterol and triglycerides present in the bloodstream. Using the rest of the patient’s medical history as a guide, a healthcare provider can determine if the patient has high cholesterol or is at risk for heart disease.
When should a person get a cholesterol test?
Anyone over 20 should get a cholesterol test every 4-6 years. This number may increase if the patient has a family history of diabetes or heart disease. After age 40, doctors will test a patient’s cholesterol more frequently.
Schedule a test today
Usually, cholesterol tests are performed by the patient’s primary care provider. People with unusually high cholesterol may be referred to an endocrinologist or cardiologist depending on medical history. These specialists will be able to determine the best treatment for cholesterol problems