Everyone age 20 and older should have his or her cholesterol measured at least once every five years. A blood test called a lipoprotein panel can help show whether you’re at risk for coronary heart disease by looking at substances in your blood that carry cholesterol. This blood test is done after a 9-to-12-hour fast (no eating) and gives information about your:
Total cholesterol–a measure of the total amount of cholesterol in your blood, including low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
LDL (bad) cholesterol–the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockage in the arteries
HDL (good) cholesterol–HDL helps remove cholesterol from your arteries
Triglycerides–another form of fat in your blood that can raise your risk for heart disease
Risk Factors
Major Risk Factors That Affect Your LDL Goal
Cigarette smoking
High blood pressure (140/90 mmHg or higher or on blood pressure medication)
Low HDL cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL)
Family history of early heart disease (heart disease in father or brother before age 55; heart disease in mother or sister before age 65)
Age (men 45 years or older; women 55 years or older)