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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that nearly 50 percent of U.S. adults have unhealthy cholesterol levels. Also, the CDC claimed that more than two-thirds of adults with high cholesterol are not being treated effectively.
Currently, there is one test commonly used by medical professionals to determine if you have high cholesterol. A total cholesterol test is simple blood test performed in your doctor's or health care professional’s office.
A total cholesterol test is also used to determine if you have high cholesterol and if you are at risk for coronary artery disease. High cholesterol has been linked to a risk of stroke and heart attack. As a side note to pregnant women, cholesterol is generally high during your pregnancy.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) recommends to stop eating and drinking nine to 12 hours before your cholesterol test. You can drink water prior to the test. However, other caffeinated beverages like coffee or soda may alter your test results.
According to the NIH:
• The first screening for men is performed between ages 20 - 35
• The first screening for women is performed between ages 20 - 45
• Every five years a follow-up screening is recommended
• Screenings are performed on patients who develop diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or another illness caused by atherosclerosis
• Generally, follow-up testing is conducted as a follow-up to determine if diet and medications are controlling high cholesterol
• After any illness, wait at least six weeks to have a cholesterol test
• Women should wait at least six weeks until after their baby is born to have a cholesterol test.
A total cholesterol test results include a lipid profile. The lipid profile includes high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and triglyceride test results.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as good cholesterol. Target HDL test results are:
• Low risk or desirable: Greater than 40 mg/dL
• Intermediate risk: 31-40 mg/dL
• Moderately high risk: 25-30 mg/dL
• High risk: Less than 25 mg/dL