Much of the cholesterol's danger lies in the fact there are no inherent signs or symptoms of high cholesterol. This means that people who have high cholesterol often don’t even know it. Because there are no symptoms of high cholesterol, it is extremely important to get a blood test and have your cholesterol levels checked by your doctor. Stay informed with these high cholesterol facts on diagnosis and what affects cholesterol.
Diagnose high cholesterol with a blood test
Your doctor will diagnose you with high cholesterol by taking a blood test called a lipoprotein panel. A lipoprotein panel measures the level of cholesterol in your blood and helps your doctor understand your risk for coronary heart disease. For the best results, do not eat or drink anything (besides water) for 9 to 12 hours before the blood sample is taken.
With a lipoprotein panel, your doctor will gain information on your:
- Total cholesterol, including both low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
- LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol – the main cause of cholesterol buildup in your arteries
- HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol – this helps remove cholesterol from your arteries
- Triglycerides – a type of fat found in your blood
Cholesterol is measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood. A healthy level of total cholesterol is typically below 200 mg/dL of blood. Higher than 200 mg/dL is borderline high, but anything above 240 mg/dL is high and considered dangerous.
What affects cholesterol levels?
Risk factors for high cholesterol include:
- Age – People over the age of 20 have a higher risk of high cholesterol and should get regular blood tests
- Family history
- Being overweight
- Inactivity – Exercise helps support healthy levels “good” HDL cholesterol and “bad” LDL cholesterol
- Poor diet – foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat, and foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, such as baked goods and crackers, can raise cholesterol levels
- Smoking – This damages the walls of your arteries, making them more likely to accumulate cholesterol and fatty deposits
- High blood pressure
There are no symptoms of high cholesterol, so it is important to keep up with high cholesterol facts and check your cholesterol levels with a blood test. Talk to your doctor and see if you are at risk for high cholesterol, and learn how MegaRed can help support healthy cholesterol levels.