Monitoring of Total cholesterol
As part of a lipid profile, total cholesterol tests may be ordered at regular intervals to evaluate the success of lipid-lowering lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, or to determine the effectiveness of drug therapy such as statins. Your doctor may require you to monitor your fasting lipid profile,after starting statin therapy and then periodically to ensure that the drug is working appropriately.
Total cholesterol levels and indications
In general, healthy lipid levels help to maintain a healthy heart and lower the risk of heart attack or stroke. A healthcare practitioner will take into consideration total cholesterol results and the other components of a lipid profile as well as other risk factors to help determine a person’s overall risk of heart disease, whether treatment is necessary and, if so, which treatment will best help to lower the person’s risk.
For adults, in a routine setting where testing is done to screen for risk, the test results are grouped in three categories of risk:
- Desirable: A cholesterol below 200m g/dL (5.18 mmol/L) is considered desirable and reflects a low risk of heart disease.
- Borderline high: A cholesterol of 200 to 239 mg/dL (5.18 to 6.18 mmol/L) is considered to reflect moderate risk. Depending on the results of the lipid profile (and any other risk factors), a decision will be made about whether treatment, including lifestyle changes, is necessary.
- High risk: A cholesterol greater than or equal to 240 mg/dL (6.22 mmol/L) is considered high risk. A health care provider may order a lipid profile (as well as other tests) to try to determine the cause of the high cholesterol. Once the cause is known, an appropriate treatment will be prescribed.