Understanding Your Cholesterol Laboratory Test Results
Your cholesterol test results came back. Now you’re in a mild state of panic because according to it, your cholesterol level is higher than normal.
The phrase “high cholesterol level” has come to mean “heart disease.” You’re not due to see your doctor until the next morning. What to do? Get a grip. Make technology work for you. Just a few clicks with your mouse should give you enough information on how to read your lab test results, for your own peace of mind. The internet will tide you over.
So what does a blood chemistry test result look like? It will have some sort of a table and will list the words cholesterol, LDL, HDL , triglycerides etc. At the very least it will loosely resemble the sample below. Reference Values are likely to be represented differently, according to your country and/or ethnic origin.
|Name: ___PATIENT JANE___________||Age/Gender : 45/F_____________|
|Requesting Physician : _______________________________||Date : _____________|
|Test Description||Conventional Units|
|Glucose (Fasting)||97||MG/DL||70 – 105|
|Creatinine||0.81||MG/DL||0.6 – 1.3|
|Blood Uric Acid||3.4||MG/DL||3.4 – 7.0|
|Cholesterol||199||MG/DL||140 – 200|
|Triglycerides||113||MG/DL||40 – 150|
|HDL||49.9||MG/DL||45 – 65|
|LDL||126||MG/DL||85 – 115|
Let us run down the list of cholesterol-related terminologies found in this piece of blood chemistry result:
Cholesterol – is fat. Well, it is a very close relative. It is soft and waxy and is naturally produced by our bodies, mostly by our liver. We actually need cholesterol and we produce enough that we don’t need to supplement it thru diet. Dietary cholesterol come from foods of animal origin (yes, that crispy fried chicken, that juicy steak or that succulent king crab). Cholesterol travels inside our bodies via lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are molecules composed of protein and lipids. Cholesterol levels are expressed in milligrams per deciliter. That’s milligrams of cholesterol, and 1/10 of a liter of blood.
Below 200 mg/dL Desirable
200-239 mg/dL Borderline high
240 mg/dL and above High
HDL (High-density lipoprotein cholesterol) – is the smallest of the 5 lipoproteins found in our bodies. HDL is also known as the “good cholesterol” because HDL particles are able to remove cholesterol from arterial plaques and transport it back to the liver for excretion. Needless to say, if you have more HDL to help avoid accumulation of cholesterol in your arteries, then you’re in good shape.
Below 40mg/dL (men)/ 50mg/dL (women) Low
60mg/dL and above Desirable
LDL (Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol) – is the so-called “bad cholesterol”. If our blood contains high levels of LDL, they start to build up in our arteries, forming plaques and causing the arteries to narrow. These arteries can easily get blocked by blood clots, resulting to stroke or heart attack. In short, we want this number to be low.
Below 100 mg/dL Desirable
100-129 mg/dL Near/above desirable
130-159 mg/dL Borderline high
160-189 mg/dL High
190 mg/dL Very high
Triglycerides – a type of lipid found in our blood. Lipids are groups of naturally occurring molecules that is mostly fat. Our body converts the food that we eat into calories, and all excess calories are converted to triglycerides. These triglycerides are later released when we need extra energy. So if your calorie intake is more than what you burn, your triglyceride level goes up.
- Less than 150 mg/dL ( milligrams per deciliter) Desirable
- 150 to 199 mg/dL Borderline high
- 200 to 499 mg/dL High
- 500 mg/dL Very high
All the information given here are good reference material to help you understand your cholesterol profile but are not meant to offer a medical diagnosis of your condition. And now that you’re done reading this, click away and visit other websites that may offer answers to all the questions running around in your head, BUT be sure to ask the same questions when you see your doctor.
This Article is written by Lena Butler, contributor of Health & Drug Testing Information Center.