Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in cells of the body. Small amounts of cholesterol are needed by the body to work properly, but excess cholesterol is not good for the heart and the brain, as it can clog the arteries and lead to heart disease or a brain stroke. Therefore, testing cholesterol helps in assessing the risk of heart disease, stroke and other conditions associated with blocked arteries.
Why is the test ordered?
The total Cholesterol Test is useful in predicting a person’s risk of developing heart disease.
When is the test recommended?
Men should get their first screening done at the age of 35 and women starting at age 45. Individuals who have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and a strong family history of heart disease should get tested at an earlier age. The Total Cholesterol Test may also be suggested to determine the effectiveness of drug therapy and lipid-lowering measures.
How is the sample collected?
A blood sample is collected from a vein in the arm.
How to prepare for the test?
The patient may be advised to fast for at least 9 to 12 hours before the test.