Screening and Prevention
Your doctors will order routine lipid panel blood tests to screen for high blood cholesterol. The timing and frequency of these blood tests will depend on your age and risk factors or family history for high blood cholesterol or other cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke. Learn about heart-healthy lifestyle changes that your doctor may recommend to help you prevent high blood cholesterol.
Lipid panel tests to check for healthy blood cholesterol levels
Doctors use lipid panels to check whether you have healthy levels of cholesterol in your blood. A lipid panel will measure the total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and non-high-density lipoprotein (non-HDL) cholesterol levels in your blood. Non-HDL cholesterol includes low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and is calculated by subtracting your HDL cholesterol levels from your total cholesterol levels. See the table below to learn whether you have healthy blood cholesterol levels based on your age and sex.
When you receive this screening will depend on your age, risk factors, and family history of high blood cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases such as , heart attack, or stroke.
- Age 19 or younger. Screening begins at ages 9 to 11 and should be repeated every 5 years. Screening may be performed as early as age 2 if there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke.
- Age 20 or older. Younger adults should be screened every 5 years. Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should be screened every 1 to 2 years.
If your blood cholesterol levels are not within the healthy range for your age and sex, your doctor may also recommend heart-healthy lifestyle changes to help you lower or control your high blood cholesterol and order a repeat lipid profile test.
Did you know that cholesterol is an important part of many organs in our body and that high levels of bad types of cholesterol can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease?
Cholesterol is an important building block for our bodies. Cholesterol is produced by many organs in the body with major contributions from the liver and the brain. The body also gets some cholesterol from the diet, but this has a minor effect on blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a major component of all cell membranes and is used to make essential molecules such as , fat-soluble vitamins, and to help you digest your food.
You may also see a measurement for triglycerides on your lipid panel. Like cholesterol, are a type of blood fat. Triglycerides form when you eat more calories than you need. They can supply energy to your muscles. When triglyceride levels are too high, they can put you at risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Heart-healthy lifestyle changes to prevent high blood cholesterol
- Diagnosis will explain how doctors use lipid panel tests to diagnose high blood cholesterol.
- Living With will discuss some additional medical care or lifestyle changes that your doctor may recommend to prevent your condition from recurring, getting worse, or causing serious complications such as heart attack or stroke.
- Research for Your Health will explain how we are using current research and advancing research to prevent high blood cholesterol.
- Participate in NHLBI Clinical Trials will explain our ongoing clinical studies that are investigating treatments for high blood cholesterol.