Testing your cholesterol
Although it gets a bad press, cholesterol is vital for the normal functioning of our bodies. It is essential for making vitamin D, a number of hormones along with bile for effective digestion.
When cholesterol levels become excessively high – a condition known as hyperlipidaemia – you may be more at risk of your health being adversely affected.
There are a number of factors that can cause your levels to change such as:
- Lifestyle (diet, exercise, weight gain)
- Medical conditions
- Certain types of drug therapy
- Inherited factors (known as familial hypercholesterolaemia)
Thankfully managing cholesterol is relatively straight forward, with the first step being knowing your levels.
How to test your cholesterol
Testing for cholesterol is straight forward – all you need is your blood. Sample collection can be done by:
- Venous collection which sees a sample being drawn, by a medical profession, from a vein in your arm
- Finger-prick collection using a testing device, such as Thriva, to draw a small sample from your finger into a tube which you can do yourself at home.
In both cases your sample would then be sent to a lab to be processed and depending which service you use your results ready from between 2 days to 2 weeks.
What will be tested?
The results you receive will give you a comprehensive overview of what your cholesterol levels are. Typically your blood will be tested for:
- Low-density lipoproteins: With ideal levels being <3.0 mmol/l
- High-density lipoproteins: With ideal levels being >0.9 mmol/l
- Total cholesterol: With ideal levels being <5.0 mmol/l
- Triglycerides: With ideal levels being <2.0 mmol/l
Knowing what your levels are and where you sit within the recommended reference ranges will enable you to take the right steps to address and improve them.