Cholesterol Screening


 
Pleasant Health Services provides on-site portable cholesterol screening. Cholesterol screening does not take more than 5-7 minutes of your time and involves using state-of-the-art machines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Our staff are clinically trained to perform cholesterol screening and provide you with valid information related to your blood cholesterol. Understanding the facts about cholesterol will help you take better care of your heart and live a healthier life, reducing your risk for heart attack and stroke. 

It is important to note that the values of your cholesterol screening are useful for screening purposes only and should not be used for clinical risk assessment or make clinical decision. Clinical correlation of results and corroboration at an accredited laboratory need to be done by a physician.  It is your full responsibility to initiate a follow-up examination with your primary care physician to confirm impaired blood cholesterol, obtain advice and/or treatment.

A consent and release form must be read and signed by each individual wanting to take the blood cholesterol screening. A children or minors must have their parent/guardian sign the consent on their behalf.

To control your cholesterol, get a cholesterol screening, eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and follow all your healthcare professional's recommendations.

 
What is cholesterol screening and testing?

Cholesterol Screening

What is LDL cholesterol?
What is HDL cholesterol?
What are triglycerides?
Cholesterol and diet?
Cholesterol and physical activity
Cholesterol and tobacco smoking
Cholesterol and alcohol drinking
 
   
What is cholesterol screening & testing?  

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Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found among the lipids (fats) in the bloodstream and in all your body's cells.  It is an important part of a healthy body because it is used to form cell membranes, some hormones and is needed for other functions. But a high level of cholesterol is the blood (known as hypercholesterolemia) is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, which leads to heart attack.

Starting at age 20, everyone should have their cholesterol checked annually. Children and teens who have a family history of early heart disease or high cholesterol level should be screened regularly.

Cholesterol screening can be done in two ways: fasting or random.  A fasting lipid profile (also called lipoprotein profile) is a detailed blood test for cholesterol.  You will need to fast for 9-12 hours prior to the test. A random lipid test requires no fasting.  It is highly recommended for an individual to fast prior to the test.

The cholesterol test includes:

  • LDL level - this is the "bad" cholesterol that sticks to your arteries and can cause blockage.
  • HDL level - this is the "good" cholesterol that helps to prevent build up in your arteries.
  • Triglyceride level - this is another type of fat in your blood that can lead to atheroaclerosis.
  • Total cholesterol.
 
What is LDL Cholesterol?  

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Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is know as the "bad cholesterol" and it is the major cholesterol carrier in the blood. If too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood, it can slowly build up in the walls of the arteries feeding the heart and brain. It can then form plaque, a thick, hard deposit that can clog those arteries. This condition is known as atherosclerosis. A clot (thrombus) that forms near this plaque can block the blood flow to part of the heart muscle and cause a heart attack. If a clot blocks the blood flow to part of the brain, a stroke results. A high level of LDL cholesterol (160 mg/dL and above) reflects an increased risk of heart disease. If you have heart disease, your LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL. That's why LDL cholesterol is called "bad" cholesterol. Lower levels of LDL cholesterol reflect a lower risk of heart disease.
 
What is HDL cholesterol?  

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High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as the "good cholesterol".  About one-third to one-fourth of blood cholesterol is carried by HDL. Medical experts think HDL tends to carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where it's passed from the body. Some experts believe HDL removes excess cholesterol from plaques and thus slows their growth. A high HDL level seems to protect against heart attack. The opposite is also true: a low HDL level (less than 40 mg/dL in men; less than 50 mg/dL in women) indicates a greater risk. A low HDL cholesterol level also may raise stroke risk.
 
Cholesterol and diet?  

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People get cholesterol in two ways. The body  mainly the liver  produces varying amounts, usually about 1,000 milligrams a day. Foods also can contain cholesterol. Foods from animals (especially egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish, seafood and whole-milk dairy products) contain it. Foods from plants (fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds) don't contain cholesterol.

Typically the body makes all the cholesterol it needs, so people don't need to consume it. Saturated fatty acids are the main culprit in raising blood cholesterol, which increases your risk of heart disease. Trans fats also raise blood cholesterol. But dietary cholesterol also plays a part. The average American man consumes about 337 milligrams of cholesterol a day; the average woman, 217 milligrams.

Some of the excess dietary cholesterol is removed from the body through the liver. Still, the American Heart Association recommends that you limit your average daily cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. If you have heart disease, limit your daily intake to less than 200 milligrams. Still, everyone should remember that by keeping their dietary intake of saturated fats low, they can significantly lower their dietary cholesterol intake. Foods high in saturated fat generally contain substantial amounts of dietary cholesterol.

People with severe high blood cholesterol levels may need an even greater reduction. Since cholesterol is in all foods from animal sources, care must be taken to eat no more than six ounces of lean meat, fish and poultry per day and to use fat-free and low-fat dairy products. High-quality proteins from vegetable sources such as beans are good substitutes for animal sources of protein.

 
Cholesterol and physical activity  

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Regular physical activity increases HDL cholesterol in some people. A higher HDL cholesterol is linked with a lower risk of heart disease. Physical activity  can also help control weight, diabetes and high blood pressure. Aerobic physical activity raises your heart and breathing rates. Regular moderate to intense physical activity such as brisk walking, jogging and swimming also condition your heart and lungs.
 
Cholesterol and tobacco smoking  

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Tobacco smoke is one of the six major risk factors of heart disease that you can change or treat. Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol levels and increases the tendency for blood to clot.
 
Cholesterol and alcohol drinking  

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In some studies, moderate use of alcohol is linked with higher HDL cholesterol levels. However, because of other risks, the benefit isn't great enough to recommend drinking alcohol if you don't do so already.

If you drink, do so in moderation. People who consume moderate amounts of alcohol have a lower risk of heart disease than nondrinkers. However, increased consumption of alcohol brings other health dangers, such as alcoholism, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, cancer, suicide, etc. Given these and other risks, the American Heart Association cautions people against increasing their alcohol intake or starting to drink if they don't already do so.  Consult your doctor for advice on consuming alcohol in moderation.

 

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