A complete cholesterol test — also called a lipid panel or lipid profile — is a blood test that can measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. A cholesterol test can help determine your risk of the buildup of plaques in your arteries that can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries throughout your body (atherosclerosis). High cholesterol levels usually don’t cause any signs or symptoms, so a cholesterol test is an important tool. High cholesterol levels often are a significant risk factor for heart disease.
Why is it done?
Who should get a cholesterol test?
These factors put you at increased risk of developing high cholesterol and heart disease.
If you have high cholesterol levels, your doctor may want you to get tested more often. Discuss with your doctor how often you should have a cholesterol test if your cholesterol levels are abnormal.
Also, if you have a strong family history of early heart disease, your doctor may want to test other risk factors, such as lipoproteins, that aren’t part of the standard cholesterol profile.
Cholesterol is often high during pregnancy, so pregnant women should wait at least six weeks after giving birth to have their cholesterol measured. The same is true for people who’ve been ill or had a heart attack, surgery or an accident.
Some drugs are known to increase cholesterol levels, including anabolic steroids, beta blockers, epinephrine, oral contraceptives and vitamin D. Be sure the doctor who orders your tests is aware of all the drugs and supplements you’re taking.
Children and cholesterol testing
Children as young as age 2 can have high cholesterol, but not all children need to be screened for high cholesterol. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a cholesterol test only for children between the ages of 2 and 10 who have a known family history of high cholesterol or premature coronary artery disease. Your child’s doctor may recommend retesting if your child’s first test shows he or she has abnormal cholesterol levels. If you have a family history of coronary artery disease that develops at a young age, your doctor may recommend more frequent cholesterol tests beyond the recommended screenings.
The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends testing if the child’s family history for high cholesterol is unknown, but the child has risk factors for high cholesterol, such as obesity, high blood pressure or diabetes.
There’s little risk in getting a cholesterol test. You may have some soreness or tenderness around the site where your blood is drawn. Rarely, the site may become infected.
If you are in need of a cholesterol test, call The Urgent Care.