September is National Cholesterol Awareness Month. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains cholesterol as a waxy, fat-like substance made by your liver. Blood cholesterol is essential for good health. Your body needs it to perform important jobs, such as making hormones and digesting fatty foods. Your body makes all the blood cholesterol it needs, which is why experts recommend that people eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible while on a healthy eating plan. Dietary cholesterolis found in animal foods, including meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, and dairy products.
Cholesterol is measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). When you go to a health care professional to get your cholesterol checked, this test (also called a lipid panel or lipid profile) will usually check the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your body.
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. Having high levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries and result in heart disease or stroke.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol. HDL is known as “good” cholesterol because high levels of it can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood that your body uses for energy. The combination of high levels of triglycerides with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol levels can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
- Total cholesterol, the total amount of cholesterol in your blood based on your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides numbers.
The Veterans Memorial Hospital Lab provides community wellness testing at a low upfront cost, offering this service to help accommodate individuals that may forgo these important tests due to the cost of high health insurance premiums and deductibles. Individuals can select from a menu of wellness tests during select hours, including a full cholesterol lipid panel.
A Physician’s order is not required for these tests. Anyone can call the Lab to set up an appointment between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday- Friday. Results are then mailed to the individual within five business days.
For more information on community wellness testing, please call the Laboratory at Veterans Memorial Hospital at 563-568-3411.