cholesterol

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is naturally present in the body and is an important part of the body’s function. The body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones including vitamin D and the bile acids that help to digest fat. The body requires only small amounts of cholesterol to function normally, and excess amounts may be deposited in artery walls throughout the body. This can lead to narrowing of the coronary arteries in the heart, causing angina and heart attack; narrowing in the carotid arteries that supply the brain, causing stroke; and narrowing of the femoral arteries supplying the legs, causing peripheral artery disease.

 

What Is a Cholesterol Test?

Fasting blood tests can measure cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood. This test, also called a lipoprotein profile or lipoprotein analysis, measures:

  • Total cholesterol (the total amount of cholesterol in your blood)
  • HDL, high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol)
  • LDL, low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol)
  • Triglycerides, another fatty substance found in the body.
  • Blood cholesterol measurements can be used to help minimize the risk of stroke, heart attack, and peripheral artery disease. The cholesterol level is one of the many risk factors that can be controlled.

Blood cholesterol measurements can be used to help minimize the risk of stroke, heart attack, and peripheral artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level is one of the many risk factors that can be controlled, in addition to high blood pressure, smoking and being overweight.

Do You Have to Fast Before a Cholesterol Test?

Yes. fasting allows proper interpretation of blood lipid levels. You will be instructed to not eat or drink anything (except for water) for 14 hours before the blood is drawn. You should not drink alcohol for 48 hours prior to the test.

How Long Do You Have to Fast Before a Cholesterol Test?

  • You will be instructed to not eat or drink anything (except for water) for 14 hours before the blood is drawn.
  • You should not drink alcohol for 48 hours prior to the test.

 

Can I Drink Coffee the Morning of the Cholesterol Test?

No. Unfortunately for coffee lovers, drinking coffee (or any liquid) is not allowed prior to a cholesterol test.

Do They Draw Blood for a Cholesterol Test?

During this procedure, a blood sample will be taken from a vein in your arm. To do so, a tourniquet (an elastic band) is tied around your arm just above the elbow. A needle is then inserted into a vein in your arm near the inside of your elbow. Once the needle is positioned, a small amount of blood is withdrawn and collected in a vial or a syringe. After the blood is collected, the needle is removed from the vein, and the tourniquet is removed from your arm. A small cotton ball is pressed over the puncture site to stop any bleeding. A Band-Aid may be placed to protect clothing should a small amount of blood leak out of the puncture site.

How long does a cholesterol take?

Having blood tests drawn takes only a few minutes.

Does a cholesterol test hurt?

Blood tests cause a minimal amount of discomfort. Some people do have anxietyabout having blood drawn and it may be worse than the pain of the procedure.

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