Tests - Preparing and What to Expect

Tests- Preparing and What to Expect

You should begin to have cholesterol tests between the ages of 45 to 50 even if you have no other known risk factors, as age itself is a risk factor. Our cholesterol and triglyceride levels rise with age, and you could be dangerously affected without knowing, as there are usually no symptoms of high cholesterol. You should also begin cholesterol screening early if you have a strong family history of high cholesterol, heart disease or heart attacks.

When you go to your doctor for testing, they will look for your blood triglyceride and total cholesterol level. This is called a lipoprotein analysis or sometimes a lipoprotein or lipid profile. This is a quick and easy test in which blood is drawn from the arm through a needle and sent to a lab to look for your total cholesterol count, LDL cholesterol level, HDL cholesterol level and triglyceride count.

Your cholesterol ratio and numbers along with your triglyceride level will tell you what your current risk for heart disease is so that you can take appropriate measures if needed to reduce these numbers. This should include the creation of a healthier lifestyle and natural supplements proven to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride to safe levels.

It is best to refrain from eating between nine to twelve hours prior to the test for the most accurate count, and you should especially stay away from fatty foods just prior to the test as this may cause an inaccurately high count. Usually you can still take any needed medications the morning of with small sips of water, although check with your doctor about this prior to the test. You should also stay away from alcohol for at least 24 hours as well as this may also artificially inflate your numbers.

Any physical stress or sickness will affect your cholesterol ratio, as will thyroid, kidney and liver disease, diabetes and pregnancy. There are also many medications that create high counts as well. Discuss all of your known medical conditions and any medications, herbs and supplements you are currently taking with your doctor prior to having your cholesterol test. You should also be sure you know what to expect before you go as well as what is expected from you in preparation, as it may be slightly different depending on your particular situation.

Your cholesterol and triglyceride level are also affected by your age and gender and may very slightly vary from lab to lab depending on exactly how the test is performed. However, there are basic guidelines in relation to cholesterol count and triglyceride level that determine if you are in the normal range or if there is need for concern. Usually the lab will have your cholesterol ratio and cholesterol and triglyceride count within a 24-hour period. Talk to your doctor about when you can expect the results and what your cholesterol test results will mean for you.

There is very little risk involved in getting cholesterol testing other than that associated with any other test that involves drawing blood. It is possible to get some bruising at the needle site, although applying pressure after the test reduces this. Occasionally your vein may become swollen and need compression for a few days, and rarely those will bleeding disorders may experience ongoing bleeding that may need additional attention. However, blood tests are overall very safe procedures and are over quickly and easily while still providing accurate information on your current health.

It is important to have regular cholesterol and triglyceride tests to determine your risk for heart disease and the dangerous consequences of heart attack, stroke and premature death. If you find that you have both high cholesterol and a high triglyceride level, you are at even greater risk. Your doctor will speak with you about important lifestyle changes to reduce these levels such as eating a well-balanced, low-fat diet, getting regular exercise and reducing stress, alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes.

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