Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found in all parts of your body.
It helps form cell membranes and helps your body make some hormones and vitamin D.
Excess cholesterol can build up in the arteries, narrowing them and slowing or
blocking blood flow to the heart, brain, and other organs.
Depending on your results, your doctor may tell you to have the test more often. Men ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65 should be screened every 1 to 2 years. They may also advise making changes to things you can control (modifiable risk factors) such as eating a healthy diet, losing weight, stopping smoking, and getting more exercise. The best blood test to check cholesterol is a lipoprotein profile. This is done after you fast for 9 to 12 hours. A lipoprotein is a substance in the blood that carries cholesterol and other fats to the body's cells. The most important lipoproteins are:
Francesca Torriani, MD
Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Clinical Epidemiology
UC San Diego | School of Medicine