High Blood Cholesterol

Frequently Asked Questions

12. What blood tests are used to measure cholesterol levels?

The recommended blood test for checking your cholesterol levels is called a fasting lipoprotein profile. It will show your

  • total cholesterol
  • low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol -- the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries
  • high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol that helps keep cholesterol from building up in your arteries
  • triglycerides -- another form of fat in your blood.

You should not eat or drink anything except water and black coffee for 9 to 12 hours before taking the test.

If you can't have a lipoprotein profile done, a different blood test will tell you your total cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol levels. You do not have to fast before this test.

If this test shows that your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or higher, or that your HDL (good) cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dL, you will need to have a lipoprotein profile done.