CardioSpecialists Group, Ltd.
About Cholesterol

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a type of fat that is in everyone's blood. It comes from two main sources: the liver and from diet. About 80 percent of the cholesterol found in the body is made by the liver. Cholesterol has many functions in the body, including: regulating hormones, building cell walls, and assisting in making bile which breaks down other fats. Like all fats, a small amount of cholesterol is necessary for many bodily functions and processes, but too much can cause problems for the arteries.

When the level of cholesterol becomes excessive, it is left along the sides of the arteries in the form of plaque. Sometimes, plaque deposits can reduce blood flow, or block it completely. When this happens it is a condition called altherosclerosis. This can be a precursor to coronary disease or heart attacks. A cholesterol test examines the levels of both cholesterol and triglycerides – another type of fat, to determine if the levels are getting too high.

How Is a Cholesterol Test Performed?

A cholesterol test is done by taking a blood sample. This is usually done in your doctor's office or at a lab. A sample of blood is drawn with a syringe and the sample is sent to a lab for analysis. Depending upon the number of tests being performed on your blood sample, results could take up to two weeks.

After the Test

You will be given your results, and any questions you have should be addressed to your physician. He can recommend follow up treatments or tests, if necessary. Recommendations if your cholesterol levels are too high could include changes in diet and exercise or treatment with cholesterol lowering medications.

For most people, normal levels for the various tests are as follows:
total cholesterol – ideally below 200mg/dL;
triglycerides – below 150mg/dL;
lipoprotein/cholesterol fractionation - ideal HDL 40 or greater, ideal LDL level should below 100;
cholesterol ratio – no more than 5:1 of total cholesterol to HDL;
Apolipoproteins-  Apo-B 40 - 125 mg/dL, Apo-A below 30mg/dL, and Apo-C-II ideally should be present.

Is It Safe?

A cholesterol test is a routine procedure, and there are minimal effects from drawing blood. Recommendations are for healthy people with normal levels to be tests once every five years,  every one to two years for those with borderline levels, and more frequently for those with high levels.

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