Tests You Need To Check Your Cholesterol Levels

Lab Tests|What Do They Mean?

Most people need to have their cholesterol checked but when it comes to the lab tests, do you really understand what it all means? Do you get  confused about the HDL and the LDL? Which is bad and which is good?

I'm here to shed some light on that for you! There are tests that must be done to determine just what your numbers are. I hope this explanation will help you to understand it better. Let's get started:

Lab Tests: Lipid Profile

  A lipid profile is basically a series of test to determine the risk of developing heart disease. Let me break down the tests for you.

  LDL Cholesterol is the “bad” or what I call the “lousy” cholesterol.You will need to fast for 12 hours normally. This is considered the most important in determining your risk for heart disease. This type of lipoprotein deposits excess cholesterol in the walls of your blood vessel contributing to hardening of the arteries. You should be tested once every five years. Your levels should be:


  • Less than 100 is optimal
  • 100-129 is near optimal
  • 130-159 is borderline high
  • 160-189 is high
  • 189 and above is Very High


The next test is the HDL part of a lipid profile. This is the lipoproteins that remove excess cholesterol from tissues and carries to the liver for disposal. This is called the “good” cholesterol.


What should your numbers for good cholesterol be?

  • Less than 40 for men = risk of heart attack
  • Less than 50 for women = risk of heart attack
  • Higher than 60 is less of a risk of heart attack


Triglycerides is also part of a lipid profile. They are a form of fat and actually a major source of body energy. Most triglycerides you will find in fat tissue, however,some can be found circulating in the blood to provide fuel to help make the muscles work. It is assumed if you are overweight, smoke, lack exercize and consume alcohol or have diabetes it will contribute to high levels of tryglycerides.


What should your Tryclyceride numbers be?

  • Less than 150 is desirable
  • 150-199 is borderline high
  • 200-499 is high
  • 500+ is very high


Some things to ponder is that certain drugs can make your tryglycerides higher like corticosteroids and beta blockers and also estrogens.


Total Cholesterol is also part of the lipid profile. Cholesterol is a steroid that forms in the  membranes for cells in all organs and tissues in your body. It is used to make hormones that help you to grow, develop and reproduce. It helps to absorb nutrients from food. The test for total cholesterol measures the good and bad that is carried in the blood by lipoproteins. Your body produces the cholesterol that is needed to make things work properly but when we add the wrong foods to our diet, it may increase the levels and have a negative impact on your health. The extra cholesterol is deposited in plaques on the walls of your blood vessels blocking the opening of your arteries and leading to many health issues. To maintain this is very important.

  Total Cholesterol numbers


  • Below 200 is desirable
  • 200-239 is moderate risk
  • 240 and higher is high risk

There you have it, the lab tests that will be done and the numbers you should expect! I hope this explanation will help you to determine what it all means and will help you keep your numbers at a good level. One of the most important things to help these numbers that I learned was to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day! Eat healthy and exercise are simple factors that can give us overall health!