Cholesterol test is carried out on blood samples from the patient who is fasting for 9 – 12 hours.
It is usually called as Lipid profile test and reports the following:
- Total cholesterol
- LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol (See below)
- HDL cholesterol or good cholesterol (See below)
- Triglyceride (See below)
Cholesterol is a fatty chemical, known as lipid. Our body cells make some cholesterol that is required for normal functioning and many food items also contain cholesterol.
Some level of cholesterol is good for our body but too much cholesterol (high cholesterol) can deposit in the arteries called plaques. Overtime, these plaques restrict the blood flow in the arteries resulting in heart diseases and stroke.
Cholesterol is carried through blood supply to all parts of the body in the form of particles called lipoproteins. There are two main types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol.
Low-density lipoproteins (LDL): LDL carries the cholesterol to the cells and when there is too much LDL, it starts to deposit in arteries which can lead to plaque formation and eventually heart disease and stroke. LDL is much more in quantity than HDL. High level of LDL encourages plaque formation. LDL is therefore considered as bad cholesterol.
High density lipoproteins (HDL): HDL brings the cholesterol from cells back to liver. The liver helps in removing the cholesterol from the body. HDL helps in preventing plaque formation and therefore are considered as good cholesterol.
Triglycerides are one other form of fats present in our bodies. They are used to produce energy.