Total Cholesterol

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a steroid that is essential for life and good health. Cell membranes in all our tissues and organs are made of cholesterol and cholesterol is also used to make hormones and form bile acids required to absorb nutrients from food. Cholesterol circulates in the blood, inside lipoprotein particles. This test measures the total amount of cholesterol in the blood.

Why test cholesterol?

Health Check
Discover your risk factors for lifestyle diseases in time to do something about them.

Family History
Family history of cardiovascular disease, especially at a young age, can increase the risk of heart disease.

Health History
History of heart attack, stroke, or high cholesterol.

What do the results mean?

Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels is essential for good health.  Food high in trans fats and excess saturated fats raises cholesterol levels and has the potential to negatively impact health.

What causes low cholesterol?

Low cholesterol means that you have less cholesterol circulating in the blood than expected. The body needs cholesterol to make certain hormones such as vitamin D and some of the substances needed to digest foods. Some studies have found that low cholesterol increases the risk of anxiety and depression, but the association of low cholesterol with any health condition is still under debate.

Low cholesterol may also be associated with some cancers, but such an association does not mean that low cholesterol causes cancer. In pregnant women, low cholesterol may increase the risk of premature birth and/or low birth weight.

What causes high cholesterol?

High levels of saturated fat in the diet can increase blood cholesterol, especially in obese individuals. Other factors include smoking, lack of exercise, stress, and genetics. Systemic chronic inflammation also raises cholesterol - and high cholesterol can induce inflammation. Familial hypercholesterolemia is a disease caused by mutations that affect the clearance of LDL cholesterol from the body and can thus increase LDL cholesterol levels.

Finally, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland), poor metabolism and the use of fats, early-stage diabetes, insulin resistance, and kidney problems can both increase cholesterol levels. Both naturally randomized genetic studies and randomized intervention trials consistently demonstrate that healthy cholesterol levels reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke and help to maintain a healthy heart. The more Apo B-containing lipoproteins, such as LDL, that are circulating in the blood, the higher the risk of heart disease.

Instructions
No advance preparation is needed for this test. Remember to take your ID with you when going to take a test.

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