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When to Have a Cholesterol Test


Doctors use different guidelines to decide when a person should have a cholesterol test.

A cholesterol test can be one of the things doctors use to check on your risk of heart attack and stroke. The Canadian Cardiovascular Society recommends a cholesterol test if you are 40 or older. Your doctor may recommend this test if you are younger and have risk factors for heart disease.footnote 1

How often to be screened

How often you should get a cholesterol test depends on your cholesterol level, your other health problems, and your overall chance of heart disease. An adult who is being treated for high cholesterol may need more frequent tests, depending on the cholesterol level and the type of treatment being used.

Cholesterol tests for children and teens

Your child's doctor may suggest a cholesterol test based on your child's age or family history or a physical exam. You can ask your child's doctor if your child should have a cholesterol test.



  1. Pearson GJ, et al. (2021). 2021 Canadian Cardiovascular Society guidelines for the management of dyslipidemia for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in adults. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 37(8): 1129–1150. DOI: 10.1016/j.cjca.2021.03.016. Accessed May 15, 2023.


Current as of: September 7, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine

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