High Cholesterol - Exams and Tests

A blood test is used to check cholesterol levels.

A cholesterol test measures the level of total cholesterol plus the level of different types of cholesterol and fats in your blood. These include LDL, HDL, and triglycerides.

What do your cholesterol numbers mean?

Your cholesterol levels can help your doctor find out your risk for having a heart attack or stroke. But it's not just about your cholesterol. Your doctor uses your cholesterol levels plus other things to calculate your risk. These include:

To learn about the test, see the topic Cholesterol and Triglyceride Tests.

For more information about risk, see the topic Heart Attack and Stroke Risk Screening.

Other tests and risk factors

Your doctor may order other tests or talk to you about other risk factors for heart attack and stroke. This helps you and your doctor decide what treatment to lower risk is right for you. You might talk about:

When to have a cholesterol test

Most doctors recommend that everyone older than 20 be checked for high cholesterol. How often you need to be checked depends on whether you have other health problems and your risk of heart attack and stroke.

Your child's doctor may suggest a cholesterol test based on your child's age, family history, or a physical exam. A cholesterol test can help a doctor find out early if your child has a cholesterol level that could affect his or her health.

For more information, see:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
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