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How Often Should You Get A Cholesterol Test

Your cholesterol levels can tell you a lot about your heart health. But how often should you get a cholesterol test? Let’s find out 

Tenzin Chodon
Written by: Tenzin ChodonUpdated at: Jul 18, 2023 08:00 IST
How Often Should You Get A Cholesterol Test

Onlymyhealth Tamil

Several factors can impact your heart health, including your blood cholesterol. A cholesterol test, also known as a lipid profile or lipid panel, is a blood test that helps measure the levels of various types of cholesterol and fats in your bloodstream. However, high levels of certain types of cholesterol, particularly Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Cholesterol itself is a waxy substance found in all cells of the body and is necessary for the production of hormones, Vitamin D, and substances that aid in digestion. 

In an interaction with the OnlyMyHealth team, Dr Rajesh Bendre, Chief of Lab, Neuberg Diagnostics, discusses the role of cholesterol test and how often one should get it. 

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Why Should You Get A Cholesterol Test?

“Maintaining optimal cardiovascular health requires regular monitoring of cholesterol levels, a cornerstone in preventive healthcare,” said Dr Bendre. 

This is because when LDL cholesterol levels are high, it can lead to the accumulation of cholesterol and other substances in the walls of the arteries. 

Over time, this buildup forms plaque, a thick, hard deposit that narrows the arteries and restricts blood flow. This condition is known as atherosclerosis.

As plaque builds up, it narrows the arteries, reducing the amount of blood that can flow through them. This can result in reduced oxygen and nutrient supply to the heart muscle. 

If the blood flow is severely restricted or blocked completely, it can lead to a heart attack.

How Often Should You Get A Cholesterol Test?

Dr Bendre said, “The frequency of cholesterol testing depends on various factors, but as a general guideline, individuals should undergo a cholesterol test at least once every five years, beginning at the age of 20. However, certain circumstances may necessitate more frequent screenings.”

The US Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) recommends most healthy adults to have their cholesterol checked every 4 to 6 years. Children and adolescents should have their cholesterol checked at least once between ages 9 and 11 and again between ages 17 and 21, the CDC added. 

According to Cleveland Clinic, high cholesterol generally means your total cholesterol is 200 mg/dL or higher. 

Also Read: The Primary Causes Of High Cholesterol That Can Be Prevented

Who Should Get A Cholesterol Test

Individuals with a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease face a higher risk and should consider more regular testing, according to Dr Bendre. 

Those with risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, smoking, or hypertension should prioritise regular cholesterol assessments, he said, adding, “People with pre-existing conditions like metabolic syndrome or liver disease, and individuals prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications, should have their cholesterol levels monitored regularly to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.” 

Changes in lifestyle, diet, or medication can be adjusted accordingly based on these results, he advised. 

Benefits Of Regular Cholesterol Testing

“By being proactive in monitoring cholesterol levels, individuals can take charge of their cardiovascular health. Early detection allows for informed decision-making, empowering individuals to make necessary lifestyle changes, seek appropriate medical interventions, and reduce the risk of heart disease and related complications,” Dr Bendre concluded.