How Often to Get Screened for Cholesterol

How To Know When To Get Your Cholesterol Checked

Most people look at cholesterol as something which makes our life more difficult. Actually, we not only need to keep our cholesterol levels from rising too high; we need cholesterol to live and be healthy.

Cholesterol is a lipid substance in the bloodstream which helps in cell membrane maintenance and replenishment. Without the proper amounts of cholesterol, these structures become either too soft or too hard. So cholesterol is an important part of human biological processes. Regulating the proper amounts of cholesterol are important.

LDL: The Bad Cholesterol

Low density lipoproteins are what have come to be known as bad cholesterol. Most of the time, it is shortened to LDL. When our blood contains too much LDL, cholesterol plaque can build up in the crooks of our arteries. These blockages cause serious circulatory problems, including strokes and heart attacks.

Strokes happen when cholesterol blocks the artery bringing blood to the brain. Heart attacks happen when bad cholesterol blocks the coronary artery.

It is best to have an LDL level under 130 mg/dl. If the LDL reaches the 130-160 range, it is considered a borderline dangerous level. If bad cholesterol soars over 160 mg/dl, a person is considered to have high cholesterol and is at risk of serious medical conditions.

HDL: The Good Cholesterol

High density lipoproteins is the technical name for good cholesterol. Its name is usually shortened to HDL. HDL removes cholesterol from our blood, so the more of it we have, the better medical condition we are in.

It is best to maintain HDL levels at 60 mg/dl or higher. If it drops below 40, a person is considered at risk of heart disease and other conditions.

High Cholesterol

As stated before, LDL over 160 mg/dl is considered high cholesterol. If you put both cholesterol scores together and it is over 240, this is considered high cholesterol. 200 is considered optimal, while anything between 200 and 240 is reaching a risky level.

So how often should someone have a cholesterol screening?

Cholesterol Screenings

Men over 35 should consider having a periodic cholesterol screening. This should be done once every five years at the very least. Men over 45 are at risk of high cholesterol and the dangers which come along with that. So 45+ men should have periodic screenings, probably more often than 5 years.

As for women, they should begin getting screenings around the age of 45. Post-menopausal women are at much greater risk of high cholesterol, so bad cholesterol isn’t a problem for them until this point. Once again, tests every five years are a must, though you should consider more frequent tests. Once a woman reaches 55, a woman should have tests every year or every couple of years at the most.

Frequent cholesterol screenings are important. If you have inflated LDL, you are at greater risk of heart disease, one of the leading causes of death.

Playing the Odds

Certain people are at greater risk of heart disease than others. African Americans have the highest rate of heart disease. People who are overweight or inactive physically have a higher chance of heart disease. Those who smoke or have diabetes are at great risk. So anyone who fits into these groups should be particularly wary of their cholesterol levels.

  • mother or sister with heart disease
  • overweight
  • inactive
  • smoking
  • diabetes

You can learn more about getting screened for cholesterol by visiting:

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