Cholesterol Test Basics!

It’s American Heart Month- time to make sure your ticker is in top shape!  A physical with your doctor is a good place to start along with some basic screenings to check your heart depending upon your age. The most common place to start is with a cholesterol screening check.  Many of you may have had your cholesterol tested or even have it regularly screened, depending upon your condition and doctor’s recommendations. Cholesterol is important for our bodies. It is a waxy substance that circulates in our blood and helps build cells, but too much cholesterol can become a problem that can lead to narrowed arteries, heart attacks or strokes.

It is important to work with your doctor to get orders to have your cholesterol levels checked periodically. The American Heart Association recommends cholesterol testing for all adults, over age 20, every 4-6 years or more often if your doctor recommends it based on your history or health.

If you know where you stand with your cholesterol numbers then you can make better decisions with your doctor about changing your diet and exercise routine or medication options that can help control your cholesterol levels. We recommend coming to a laboratory for accurate testing of your cholesterol. It is important to be fasting (no food or drinks for 9-12 hours) before testing to get accurate results on all cholesterol levels. Generally, providers will want to test three types of cholesterol:

  • LDL, the “bad” cholesterol;
  • HDL, the “good” cholesterol; and
  • Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body.

If you have any questions about cholesterol or other cardiac screenings that are best for you, then please talk to your doctor to get appropriate testing orders. The Power County Hospital lab staff is available to answer any questions you might have about testing and we are fast and convenient to get you tested and on your way!