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Cholesterol and Triglycerides Tests for Teens: About These Tests

What are they?

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

Why are these tests done?

Cholesterol and triglycerides tests are done to check the level of certain fats in your blood. The results can help your doctor decide whether to recommend treatments such as changing your diet or increasing your activity.

How can you prepare for these tests?

  • If your doctor tells you to fast before your tests, do not eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before having your blood drawn. Usually, you are allowed to take your medicines with water the morning of the test.
  • Do not eat high-fat foods the night before the tests.
  • Do not exercise strenuously the night before the tests.
  • Be sure to tell your doctor about all the non-prescription and prescription medicines and natural health products you take. There are many medicines and natural health products that can affect the results of these tests.

What happens during these tests?

The health professional taking a sample of your blood will:

  • Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
  • Clean the needle site with alcohol.
  • Put the needle into the vein.
  • Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
  • Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
  • Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
  • Put pressure on the site and then put on a bandage.

What else should you know about the test?

The following are general guidelines. Talk to your doctor about your target cholesterol levels. They may vary depending on your age, gender, health, and your risk for certain health problems. Your doctor may recommend the following levels:

  • Total cholesterol: Lower than 4.4 mmol/L
  • LDL cholesterol: Lower than 2.8 mmol/L

The goal numbers for HDL cholesterol and triglycerides can depend on your child's age and gender.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.