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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 do you prepare for these tests?

    If your doctor tells you to fast before your blood test, do not eat, chew, or drink anything other than small amounts of water for at least 12 hours before the test.

    If you have diabetes and your doctor tells you to fast, do not eat, chew, or drink anything other than small amounts of water for at least 8 hours before your blood test.

    Fasting for this type of blood test means not having anything to eat, chew, or drink other than small amounts of water. You can take any prescription medicines you need.

    Other things to know:
    • 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. Many of these can affect the results of the tests.

How are these tests done?

A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.

What should your cholesterol levels be?

These are general guidelines. Talk to your doctor about your target cholesterol levels. They may vary depending on your age, gender, health, and 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 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?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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