Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found in your body’s bloodstream and cells. Although it is an important and necessary part of your body’s functioning, too much of it can lead to heart disease or even a heart attack. If you’re already at risk for heart disease, lowering your cholesterol is an important method for reducing that risk.
Goodrich Pharmacy offers a complete cholesterol panel test that measures your total cholesterol along with its individual components to give you a clearer understanding of how these levels are affecting your risk for heart disease.
What These Tests Measure
These tests measure your HDL, your LDL, and your triglyceride levels. These three numbers are vital to understanding your total cholesterol picture.
- HDL (or “good cholesterol”) is “high density lipoprotien.” It shows that your body is clearing the cholesterol from your veins and bloodstream efficiently. Higher levels of HDL actually indicate a lower risk for heart disease.
- LDL (or “bad cholesterol”) is “low density lipoprotein.” It shows that your body is working harder, but less successfully, to keep the cholesterol from clogging up your all-important blood passageways. Too much LDL can indicate a much higher risk for heart disease, but determining just how much is too much depends on your age, health, and other risk factors.
- Triglycerides are chains of high-energy fatty acids. High levels of triglycerides have also been associated with increased risks for heart disease.
Once we’ve measured these levels, we’ll explain what these numbers mean and how they relate to your individual health. If necessary, we’ll give you ideas on what you can do to change these numbers for the better and we’ll work with your doctor to help you get the most out of any medications that you’re using to control your cholesterol.
Taking the Test
To get the most accurate results from the cholesterol panel test, you will need to fast for twelve hours ahead of time, meaning no food or drink other than water for the full twelve hours.
There is a $29 fee for administering this test, but check with your insurance company; they may cover it.
Things You Can Do to Lower Your Cholesterol
- Excercise. Physical activity increases HDL levels and reduces LDL levels.
- Stop smoking. Smoking lowers HDL levels.
- Control your blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart disease.
- Change your diet. Reducing the amount of fat (particularly saturated fat) in your diet reduces your risk for heart disease.