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Cholesterol and Triglycerides Tests: About These Tests

What are they?

Cholesterol and triglycerides tests measure the amount of fats in your blood. These fats have both "good" (HDL) and "bad" (LDL) cholesterol.

Why are these tests done?

These tests are done to help find out your chances of having heart disease. They can help your doctor find out how well medicine is working for some health problems.

How can you prepare for these tests?

  • Your doctor may tell you to fast before your tests. This means that you do not eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before the tests. In most cases, you can take your medicines with water the morning of the test.
  • Do not eat high-fat foods the night before the tests.
  • Do not drink alcohol or do intense exercise the night before the tests.
  • Be sure to tell your doctor about all the over-the-counter and prescription medicines and natural health products you take. They can affect the results of these tests.

What happens during these tests?

A health professional takes a sample of your blood.

What else should you know about these tests?

The following are general guidelines. Talk to your doctor about your target cholesterol levels. They may vary depending on your health and your risk for certain health problems. These are the recommended levels:

  • Total cholesterol: Lower than 5.1 mmol/L
  • HDL cholesterol: Higher than 1.0 mmol/L . Higher than 1.5 mmol/L is best.
  • Total cholesterol-to-HDL ratio: A ratio of 5:1 or lower
  • LDL cholesterol: Between 2.6–3.3 mmol/L . Lower than 2.6 mmol/L is best.
  • Triglycerides: Lower than 1.7 mmol/L

Where can you learn more?

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