The Different Tests For High Cholesterol

The total level of cholesterol in the blood is important. But to help the Doctors determine the best treatments for a person’s High Cholesterol, the level of LDL, HDL, and triglycerides are also considered.

There are 3 well-known tests to get the cholesterol levels in the blood.

  • Simple cholesterol test
  • Direct LDL test
  • Fasting cholesterol test

Simple cholesterol test

This test tells you if you have high cholesterol. A simple cholesterol test can measure total cholesterol and HDL. You can eat before this test. This is usually the initial test most doctors do to determine high cholesterol.

Direct LDL test

This test measures the LDL level only. No fasting is required for this test so you can take this test at any time.

Fasting cholesterol test

This test is called a fasting test because it strictly requires no food intake for 9 to 12 hours before the examination. Fasting cholesterol test is also known as lipoprotein analysis which a more thorough test compared to Simple cholesterol test and Direct LDL test. This test measures the total cholesterol including the LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels

The meaning of Cholesterol values

Cholesterol values are usually measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The following will help you understand the results of your cholesterol tests.

Total cholesterol

High – 240 or above

Borderline-high – 200 to 239

Best – Less than 200

If you have high cholesterol, your doctor will want to know your LDL and HDL levels before deciding whether you need treatment and what sort of treatment you need. Your total cholesterol number shows if your cholesterol is too high.

LDL (bad) cholesterol

Very high – 190 and above

High – 160 to 189

Borderline-high – 130 to 159

Near best – 100 to 129

Best – Below 100

You want your LDL level to be low. But how low your LDL should be depends on your risk of heart attack. This table shows the LDL levels for someone with an average risk of heart attack. Your LDL goal may be lower if your heart attack risk is higher than average. Your doctor will help decide what your LDL goal is and if you need any treatment to lower your LDL. The higher your risk of heart attack, the lower your LDL goal.

HDL (good) cholesterol

Bad – Below 40

Good – 40 or higher

Best – 60 or higher protects against heart disease

You want your HDL level to be high. HDL cholesterol goals are different for men and women. But for everyone, it’s better to have high HDL. HDL over 60 helps protect against a heart attack. HDL below 40 increases your risk of heart problems. A high HDL number can help offset a high LDL number.


Triglyceride levels

Normal Less than 150

Borderline-high 150 to 199

High 200 to 499

Very high 500 or higher

You want your triglyceride level to be low.

Other tests

CRP test or also known as C-reactive protein test can also be done specially for people who are at risk of getting coronary artery disease. This examination may be done even if you have normal or low LDL cholesterol. A special type of CRP test, the high-sensitivity CRP test, can help find out your chance of having a sudden heart problem, such as a heart attack.

Some diseases like Hypothyroidism are a known cause of High Cholesterol. So a person may need other tests to find out if there are other health issues affecting their cholesterol levels.

For more information about triglycerides, LDL Cholesterol and HDL Cholesterol, please visit


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