What is LDL cholesterol test?
LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) test is a blood test that measures the amount of LDL cholesterol in your blood. LDL cholesterol is mostly referred to as "bad" cholesterol because high levels of it can contribute to the buildup of plaque in arteries, which increases the chances of heart disease and stroke.
The test is usually done as part of a lipid panel, which also includes tests for total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein cholesterol), and triglycerides. The test involves taking a small sample of your blood, which is then analyzed in a laboratory to measure your LDL cholesterol levels.
What are LDL cholesterol test uses?
The LDL cholesterol test is typically prescribed as part of a lipid panel, which also includes measurements of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides. The test is used to assess your risk of developing heart disease and to monitor the effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering medications or lifestyle changes.
The LDL cholesterol test is usually performed after an overnight fast, as eating can temporarily increase cholesterol levels in the blood. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you have the test performed every few years, depending on your risk factors for heart disease.
What is the need of LDL test?
High cholesterol levels are usually accompanied by no symptoms. High amounts of LDL cholesterol, on the other hand, can induce plaque accumulation in a person's blood vessels. Plaque is made up of fat, calcium, cholesterol, and waste from bodily cells. Plaque can accumulate inside a person's arteries, narrowing or blocking them. Plaque accumulation can result in:
As a result, it is critical that a person's cholesterol levels be monitored on a frequent basis.
LDL blood tests can also be used by a doctor to assess how effectively a person is responding to LDL-lowering medication.
Who should be tested?
Those over the age of 20 who do not have any risk factors for heart disease get their cholesterol levels evaluated every 4 to 6 years. A cholesterol level test should also be performed on children aged 9-11 years and teenagers aged 17-21 years.
A person may require more frequent cholesterol testing if they have specific risk factors, such as:
What happens in LDL cholesterol test?
The LDL cholesterol test is a simple blood test that can be done in a laboratory or doctor's office. You may be asked to fast for 9-12 hours before the test to ensure that your cholesterol levels are not temporarily elevated due to recent food intake. A healthcare professional will insert a needle into a vein in your arm and draw a small amount of blood into a tube. The process is similar to having blood drawn for other laboratory tests. The sample of blood is sent to a laboratory where it is analyzed for LDL cholesterol levels along with other lipid levels.
Understanding LDL cholesterol test results
Your healthcare provider will interpret the results of the test and may recommend changes to your diet, exercise habits, or medication regimen based on your LDL cholesterol levels and other risk factors for heart disease. Following table will help you to understand the levels:
|LDL (Bad) Cholesterol Level
||LDL Cholesterol Category
|Less than 100 mg/dL
||Near optimal/above optimal
|190 mg/dL and above