What Medical Tests Measure Cholesterol?


Quick Answer

A cholesterol screening draws a small sample of blood to be analyzed in a laboratory, says the American Heart Association. Typically, your level of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides are measured. The health care provider interprets and discusses results with the patient.

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Full Answer

The American Heart Association recommends contacting the primary care provider about running a cholesterol screening. This way, relevant medical history can be accessed and considered by the health care provider when interpreting the results and creating a prevention or treatment strategy.

In many states, cholesterol screenings are easily accessible through community pharmacies. A pharmacist, nurse or physician assistant may perform the test, discuss the results and provide appropriate recommendations. With the patient's permission, results are sent to the primary care provider for its records. Receiving a cholesterol screening in a pharmacy may be a less-expensive option for some people, depending upon their health insurance coverage.

Keeping your cholesterol at a healthy level is important for preventing heart disease, heart attack and a stroke. According to the American Heart Association, desirable cholesterol levels (measured in milligrams per deciliter) are a total cholesterol less than 200, LDL cholesterol less than 100, HDL cholesterol greater than 60 and triglyceride levels less than 150.

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