We all need some cholesterol in our bodies just to keep us ticking over, but having too much can clog up your arteries and lead to health problems in the future.

By getting a simple cholesterol test and making positive lifestyle changes, most people can keep their cholesterol levels healthy. So, this National Cholesterol Month ‘Let’s Talk About Cholesterol’.

It is recommend that all adults should get a cholesterol check – no matter what your age or how healthy you feel.

High cholesterol doesn’t usually have any signs or symptoms, so the only way to know your cholesterol levels is to get a check.

It’s possible to have raised cholesterol even if you’re young, fit, and feel healthy – because your cholesterol levels depend on your genes as well as your lifestyle. 

A cholesterol check involves a simple blood test. Your doctor should also check your levels of another fat called triglycerides, as these also affect your heart health. 

High cholesterol can lead to heart attacks and strokes. A cholesterol test can be used along with other simple tests to give a good idea of your heart health and if you’re at risk of health problems. These include a blood pressure test and finding out your BMI and waist measurement. The results will show you if you need to make any lifestyle changes or need treatment

What Does A Cholesterol Check Involve?

You can have your cholesterol tested using a simple blood test. This is often a finger prick test. It’s quick, you only feel a small pinch, and the results can be checked there and then. Or, you might have a small blood sample taken from your arm using a needle and syringe, which will be sent off for testing.

You can eat and drink normally before the test unless your doctor asks you not to. If you have a sample taken with a needle and syringe, you might be asked not to eat for 10-12 hours beforehand, usually overnight.

The test should include the amounts of the different types of cholesterol and triglycerides.

What do the results of a cholesterol test mean?

When you have a cholesterol test, it is really important that your healthcare professional explains the results to you, to prevent unnecessary worry and confusion about the results. The results will include different types of cholesterol

 Ask for a print out of your results if you are not able to speak to your GP, nurse or pharmacist.

Total cholesterol

This is sometimes written as ‘serum cholesterol’ or ‘TC’ and refers to the overall level of cholesterol. But it’s not just the total cholesterol that’s important.

Non-HDL cholesterol