Cholesterol Test Preparation: How To Measure Cholesterol Levels

Question: How is a cholesterol test performed and what exactly is measured? Is it essential to fast before undergoing tests? What happens in case one eats something?

How to Measure Cholesterol Levels

If only a few drops of blood are taken from the fingertips for a test, then one can measure total cholesterol and sometimes HDL cholesterol. However a lot of things can be measured if blood is taken in tubes from the veins of ones arms. Total cholesterol, HDL and Triglycerides can be measured with this blood. LDL cholesterol cannot be measured directly it is obtained indirectly by deducting other components from ones total cholesterol.

In common language it is called a cholesterol test. But technically general practitioners’ may call it a complete lipid profile.

Cholesterol Test Preparation

One should fast before undergoing blood tests. But if you have eaten just before the blood test one is able to obtain fairly accurate measurement of total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol because meals don’t bring about much change in the lipids that quickly. But LDL cholesterol and Triglycerides are influenced by what one has eaten recently. The levels begin to rise after an hour or two of a meal and remain high for twelve hours or so.

And this can influence a person’s cholesterol reading, so to avoid that a patient will be asked to fast for about twelve hours. The night before the test, the individual is advised to avoid eating after six in the evening. The blood is extracted first thing in the morning for testing.

Even little things like drinking a cup of coffee or tea with milk can alter the result. So, one should adhere to your doctors’ advice. If you forget the rule and eat something then one has to postpone the test to another day.