The American Heart Association recommends a fasting cholesterol test for adults over age 20 once every five years. A simple test provides information about total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
But did you know there is a range of cholesterol tests?
For example, an NMR lipoprofile uses nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to evaluate the number of low-density cholesterol, high-density and very low-density lipoprotein particles in the blood sample. Along with standard cholesterol information, the NMR lipoprofile test can actually count the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles in the bloodstream and determine if you are at greater risk for arterial plaque development and heart disease. LDL particles are responsible for carrying plaque to the arteries.
A Vertical Auto Profile or VAP blood test reports 15 separate components of blood cholesterol as opposed to four in a standard test. This comprehensive test can identify a far greater number of lipid abnormalities (the #1 risk factor of heart disease) than the standard test and is the only cholesterol test to identify markers for metabolic syndrome, a precursor of diabetes.
If it’s year five and time for your fasting cholesterol test, you may want to consider a heart health blood test that provides a spate of information about your overall health, including:
- Homocysteine—an amino acid in the bloodstream that can damage artery linings
- C-reactive protein (CRP)—a protein found in the blood that rises in response to inflammation
- VAP—a cholesterol test that reports 15 components of blood cholesterol
- Chem-26 heart—a comprehensive screening from a single blood draw that includes essential components of a health check as well as evaluations of glucose, kidney and liver functions, potassium, calcium, uric acid, electrolytes and iron levels.
Preparing for cholesterol tests
To ensure absolute accuracy when getting a heart check profile, a 10-hour fast is recommended. Black coffee and water are permitted during your period of fast.