Everyone over the age of 20 should get their cholesterol levels measured at least once every five years.
When being tested, your doctor may recommend a non-fasting cholesterol test or a fasting cholesterol test. A non-fasting cholesterol test will show your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. A fasting cholesterol test, called a lipid profile or a lipoprotein analysis, will measure your LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol. It will also measure triglycerides.
Your doctor may start with a non-fasting cholesterol test and then recommend a lipid profile, based on your results.
Doctors recommend your cholesterol stay below 200. Here is the breakdown for total cholesterol:
Less than 200: desirable.
200 - 239: borderline high.
240 and above: high.
Your LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels are important, as well.
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