Screening for Lipid Disorders

The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are usually administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.

Screening Tests

Blood tests—Cholesterol levels are checked with a blood test. A blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. You may need to fast for several hours before your blood is taken. The test measures levels of:

  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol/HDL ratio (should be less than 5)

Screening Guidelines

The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends screening for lipid disorders at least once every five years starting at age 20. More frequent or earlier testing may be recommended if you have a family history of elevated lipid levels or other risk factors or conditions known to increase lipid levels, or if your doctor finds a complication that could have resulted from elevated lipid levels.

References:

American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=1200000 .

National Guidelines Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://www.guideline.gov/ .



Last reviewed May 2007 by Mark A. Best, MD, MPH, MBA

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


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