Cholesterol and Heart Attacks
Although only viewed as an enemy component, cholesterol is in fact a much-required constituent that helps build new cells, produce hormones and insulate the nerve pathways in the body. It is also absorbed into the body through some of the foods we eat, such as dairy products and red meats. However, it is essential to have a cholesterol blood test regularly to ensure that the levels in your body are not too high. This can be done at a blood test clinic.
How Cholesterol can lead to Heart Disease
When the body absorbs too much cholesterol from food and other sources, it can build up in the walls of the arteries and cause a condition called atherosclerosis, which is a serious form of heart disease. The arteries then become too narrow to allow sufficient blood and oxygen to flow through to the heart, which can result in chest pains or even heart attacks in more severe cases. To prevent this from happening, it is essential to have a cholesterol blood test performed at least once a year.
Types of Cholesterol
While it is often thought that all forms of cholesterol are bad, this is untrue. There are in fact two forms of cholesterol that travel through the body, namely the ‘bad’ low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and the ‘good’ high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL is what is responsible for causing arterial blockages, while the HDL works to clear excess cholesterol from the bloodstream. When having a cholesterol blood test, you will receive results that mention your total or overall cholesterol level, triglycerides, LDL and HDL levels. You may need to ask your doctor or clinic nurse to explain what these are.
Cholesterol Levels Explained
After having your cholesterol blood test, you will receive a page of results. When reading these cholesterol blood test results, your total cholesterol number should be no higher than 200. If it is at 240 or more, you will need to make drastic lifestyle changes in order to prevent heart attacks. LDL cholesterol levels should be at or below 100 and HDL levels should be at 60 or higher, while Triglyceride levels should at 150 or lower in order to lower your risk of developing heart disease.
Are Cholesterol Tests Painful?
A cholesterol blood test normally only involves a quick finger prick, which is usually more uncomfortable than painful. If you are having a basic test, your results will usually be available almost immediately. However, if you are having a more intensive test, your results may only be available after a day or two. These days, many clinics perform free or inexpensive cholesterol tests to help you determine whether you are at risk for developing heart disease.
There are no physical or outward symptoms that are associated with having high cholesterol levels, which is why it is crucial to be tested regularly. After receiving your test results, your doctor will be more than happy to advise you with regards to adopting healthy lifestyle and dietary changes that will help keep your cholesterol levels healthy.
Call us on 0207 754 0429 0475 to book a blood test today.