A complete cholesterol test is also called a lipid profile blood work that determines the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Cholesterol is a soft, waxy, fatty substance that is stored in the blood and tissues, which are used by the body as a source of fuel. The body needs cholesterol in the right amount to function well, however, excess cholesterol can lead to life-threatening conditions like heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis.
Lipid Profile Test

High cholesterol levels often are a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. An adult man should get cholesterol levels checked regularly, starting at the age of 35 or younger and woman should begin the routine cholesterol analysis by age 45 or younger. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension or dyslipidaemia then it is mandatory to get your cholesterol levels checked every year.

Also Read: Heart Failure: Symptoms, Causes, Types And Treatment

What Does A Lipid Profile Test Measure?

High cholesterol usually does not causes any signs or symptoms. A complete lipid profile test is done to analyse whether your cholesterol is high and also evaluates your risk of developing heart disease, heart attack and other blood vessel diseases.

Lipid profile blood work measures the four types of fats (lipids) in your blood:

Total cholesterol: It is the total quantity of cholesterol in your blood.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol: This is called the bad cholesterol, excess amount of LDL in the blood leads to a build-up of fatty deposits (plaques) in the arteries, which reduces blood circulation. The plaques rupture sometimes and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol: This is called the good cholesterol because it aids to remove away bad cholesterol from the blood and allows the blood to flow freely.

Triglycerides: This is a type of fat in the blood. When you eat, the body converts excess calories into triglycerides which are stored in fat cells. High triglycerides levels are linked with overweight, eating too many sugar dense foods or consuming too much alcohol, smoking, physical inactivity or uncontrolled diabetes.

Also Read: Dyslipidaemia: Types, Causes, And Treatment

Who Should Get A Cholesterol Test?

A cholesterol test is required - if you already have coronary artery disease or if you are taking cholesterol lowering drugs or if you are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease due to:

A family history of dyslipidaemia or heart attack

Obesity or overweight

Physically inactive


Poor dietary habits


Adult man older than 45 or a woman older than 55

Any individual with a history of heart attacks or strokes requires periodic cholesterol testing to evaluate the efficacy of treatments.

Preparation For Test

A complete lipid profile test is done in a fasting state, wherein the person should avoid eating or drinking anything other than water for 9-12 hours before the test. Furthermore, before the test is done, the person should not eat any high-fat foods the night before the test, should not consume alcohol and should not exercise strenuously before the test. Make sure to inform the physician about:

Any existing health symptoms or problems

Family history of heart health

Medications and supplements you’re currently taking

Test Result Indicates

Ideal lipid profile results for most adults are:

LDL: 70 to 130 mg/dL (the lesser the value, the better)

HDL: more than 40 to 60 mg/dL (the higher the value, the better)

Total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL (the lesser the number, the better)

Triglycerides: 10 to 150 mg/dL (the lesser the number, the better

If the cholesterol levels are higher than normal range, then you are at increased risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke. If the test results are abnormal your physician may further order a blood glucose test to check for diabetes or thyroid function test to determine if thyroid is underactive.