A cholesterol blood test is a simple test that checks the cholesterol levels in your blood. It evaluates a person’s risk for heart disease.
It is also called a fasting lipoprotein profile and it measures Total Cholesterol which is the combination of HDL (high density lipoprotein) Cholesterol and LDL (low density lipoprotein) Cholesterol.
The test also measures Triglycerides and Lipoprotein (a) levels.
Triglycerides should be low as a high level of triglycerides makes your blood thick and sticky and make clots more likely to occur. Lipoprotein (a) should also be low as it is a major risk factor for heart disease. People with high levels of Lipoprotein (a) usually get atherosclerosis early in life.
To prepare for the cholesterol test you should not eat or drink (except for water) for 12-14 hours before the test, and to abstain from alcohol for 48 hours.
Health officials in the United States urge healthy adults who are aged 20 years or older to have cholesterol blood testing done once every 5 years.