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Friday, March 04, 2005

Measuring Your Blood Cholesterol

Everyone age 20 and older should have their blood cholesterol measured at least once every 5 years. It is best to have a blood test called a "lipoprotein profile" to find out your cholesterol numbers. This blood test is done after a 9-12 hour fast and gives information about your:

If it is not possible to have a lipoprotein profile done, knowing your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol can give you a general idea about your cholesterol levels. If your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or more, or if your HDL is less than 40 mg/dL, you will need to have a fasting lipoprotein profile done.

If you do not know your LDL level, you should have it measured. If it does not need specific treatment, you can still take the following steps to keep your cholesterol low and reduce your risk for heart disease:

  • Follow a diet lower in saturated fat and cholesterol
    (Heart Healthy Diet for Americans)
  • Be physically active
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Not smoke.

NOTE: Your LDL will guide you and your doctor in setting your specific treatment plan.

National Health, Lung and Blood Institute


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