What are Cholesterol Tests and Their Levels?

Cholesterol Tests

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat-like waxy substance that is present in all the cells of our body. It is produced in the liver and is essential for the production of new cells. Additionally, it is vital for creating vitamins and hormones in the body.

Cholesterol can also come from the meat and dairy products we eat, alongside the oils we consume. It is the Trans saturated fat present in food that triggers the liver to make cholesterol.

Cholesterol generally has two types, good and bad. Good cholesterol is vital to reduce the growth of bad cholesterol as well as to facilitate the growth of cells.

Why does cholesterol level matter?

LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein and is called bad cholesterol. On the other hand, good cholesterol is called high-density lipoprotein, HDL in short. An excess amount of the former can cause several heart complications like coronary heart disease.

The LDL cholesterol present in the blood makes you vulnerable by blocking your arteries, veins in the heart, through plaque. Plaque is a fatty substance that reduces the circumference of the arteries, and in turn, causes blockage in blood flow. The condition can eventually result in peripheral artery disease.

What is a Cholesterol Blood Test?

A cholesterol blood test is used to measure the level of cholesterol in your body. Additionally, it also measures the number of triglyceride fats. It is of paramount importance to understand the health conditions of your body and recognize your disposition to heart diseases.

The cholesterol test must be seen as a preventive measure for heart complications. Taking the test will also help you devise an appropriate diet plan for yourself.

Process of Cholesterol Blood Test

Before the blood test, the doctor recommends one day fast if you are getting all levels of cholesterols tested. Abstaining from eating for more than 10 hours is minimal. Hence, it is best to choose a morning appointment for the sample collection.

When you go to the testing lab, the tester would take your blood sample through a needle. This is done with the help of a syringe and the blood taken from your arm.

The needle can cause a little pain and rarely leaves a mark. However, both of these vanish within no time. The whole process hardly takes 10 minutes.

The sample is then sent to a lab for scrutinizing, and the test results come out within two to three days.

Understanding the result of cholesterol test

A blood cholesterol testmeasures the levels of the following 5 substances in milligrams per decilitre of blood:-

  • LDL levels: LDL, the bad cholesterol must have a low percentage in the test to ensure healthy living. Less than 100 mg/dl is an optimal level of LDL. However, those with heart complications must try to reduce its level as much as possible.
  • HDL levels.A healthy HDL level is significant for your overall well-being. It removes one-fourth of the bad cholesterol from the heart and takes it back to the liver to be further broken down. Less than 30 mg/dl of HDL in men and less than 50 mg/dl in women is considered a red flag. A desirable amount is more than 60 mg/dl.
  • Total cholesterol level.Total cholesterol is the sum of LDL and HDL cholesterol present within you.
  • Triglycerides level: This is a harmful fat found in your blood. An excess amount of this fat is found to be responsible for heart diseases in females, according to several investigations. Ideally, it should be below 150 mg/dl in the blood.
  • VLDL levels: VLDL stands for Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), which is a type of bad cholesterol as well. It harms the heart’s functioning and is a cause of heart conditions. An estimated amount of its presence is given since it is hard to detect with the current technology. Ideally, VLDL should be 30 mg/dl. A higher concentration demands treatment.

It is important to note that you must cross verify the results from the labs because sometimes, due to human limitations, errors can occur.

When to take the test

A professional suggests a cholesterol test when:

  • You have obesity
  • You suffer from blood pressure issues.
  • You have Type 2 diabetes.
  • The doctor notices abnormal levels of saturated fats.
  • You have a family history of heart disease or cholesterol.
  • You indulge in excessive or chain-smoking.
  • You have an alcohol addiction.
  • Any other condition that makes you vulnerable to heart diseases

You must take a routine cholesterol test if you are above the age of 30 and a male. For females, a regular cholesterol blood test is recommended from the age of 40. However, it is crucial to keep monitoring your cholesterol levels.


To conclude, cholesterol level is an important check marker of a healthy body. Hence, a cholesterol test result must be taken with all seriousness and all efforts to maintain optimum cholesterol levels must be diligently implemented in life.

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Nirupama Verma is a self passionate blogger, managing a bunch of informational blogs. She has written a lot of informational content for several popular blogs.

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