When it comes to the overall health and wellness of the heart, and cardiovascular system, getting accurate bloodwork is one of the most important things a patient can do. The fact is that no matter how healthy you think you might be, without accurate bloodwork and understanding numbers like your cholesterol its impossible to truly gauge where you are and where you need to be. All too often, even the most in-shape of individuals might suffer from issues such as poor cholesterol. Dr. Kalafatic and his team offer cholesterol testing on-site for all clients.
What is a Cholesterol Test? How Does Cholesterol Affect You?
One of the most important things you can know about your overall health and wellness is your cholesterol – it’s something we have all probably heard for years on end, first from our parents and grandparents, and now from our own doctors. Knowing where you stand is a vital piece of correcting your issues. A cholesterol test, also known as a lipid panel or lipid profile, is a blood test performed that will measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood.
A cholesterol test can help determine your risk of the buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) in your arteries that can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries throughout your body (atherosclerosis). A cholesterol test is an important tool in the arsenal of any doctor or cardiologist as it will give them a proper idea of someone’s overall health and wellness, and what they might need to do to improve their overall health and quality of life. High cholesterol levels often are a significant risk factor for coronary artery disease.
Why Cholesterol Tests are Important?
The fact is that having high cholesterol, while its certainly an issue to your health and wellness, it doesn’t really cause any outward symptoms or signs. Therefore the only means of identifying whether or not you have high cholesterol is through the use of a cholesterol test. In the event someone’s cholesterol is too high it can lead to heart attacks, and other forms of heart disease or even damage to one’s blood vessels.
What Does a Lipid Panel Test for?
Its important to understand that a cholesterol test or lipid panel will generally test for the four following types of fats in your blood.
- Total Cholesterol: This is the sum of your blood’s total cholesterol content.
- LDL or Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol: this is a form of cholesterol often considered “bad” cholesterol. When too much of this cholesterol is built up within the blood, it causes the buildup of fatty plaque deposits, within the arteries – a condition otherwise known as atherosclerosis. This condition can cause a drastic reduction of blood flow to the extremities. Sometimes these plaques can even cause ruptures that will lead to heart attack or stroke.
- HDL or High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol: Known as the “good” cholesterol because it helps carry away LDL cholesterol, thus keeping arteries open and your blood flowing more freely.
Triglycerides: Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. When you eat, your body converts calories it doesn’t need into triglycerides, which are stored in fat cells. High triglyceride levels are associated with several factors, including being overweight, eating too many sweets or drinking too much alcohol, smoking, being sedentary, or having diabetes with elevated blood sugar levels.
When Should You Get a Cholesterol Test?
The fact is that everyone should have their bloodwork done and be aware of what their lipid panels look like, at least every few years as it allows you to take a proactive look at your overall cardiovascular health. However, the [people who should focus on such testing are those who have genetic heart issues, o suffer from some heart issues already. In addition those who have fall into any of the following categories need to pay extra attention to such numbers.
- Have a family history of high cholesterol or heart attacks
- Are overweight
- Are physically inactive
- Have diabetes
- Eat an unhealthy diet
- Smoke cigarettes
For more information on cholesterol issues, be sure to contact Dr. Kalafatic today.