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Exams and Tests

It's important to track your cholesterol and risk for related heart disease, heart attack or stroke. A simple blood test – called a lipid panel – is used to check the amount of cholesterol in your blood.

Cholesterol is measured in milligrams (mg) per deciliter (dL) of blood – mg/dL in the United States. The test provides four measures: 

  • Total or overall cholesterol
  • LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol
  • HDL, or “good,” cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

Lipoprotein (a) is another test that your care team may check to better understand your risk for stroke, heart attack or other diseases. It may be considered if you have early heart disease or a strong family history of early heart disease. 

It’s important to track your cholesterol over time, especially because there are often no signs and symptoms of early buildup of fat and cholesterol in the artery walls.

Talk with your health care team about how often your cholesterol should be checked and what numbers would be ideal for you.

  • Last Edited 08/27/2021