A primary care physician guides their patient through the different challenges of living with a chronic disease. The doctor will also oversee their patient’s treatment by consulting with any specialists. They will coordinate the various aspects of their patient’s treatment and make adjustments as needed. Keep reading to learn about the different measures that both…
What Is the Recommended Age To Start Getting a Cholesterol Check?
Wondering whether your next blood test should include a cholesterol check? Read on to learn at what age you should start considering checking your cholesterol numbers. If you are in your 20s or 30s and healthy, job stress and money are probably your primary concerns, not your cholesterol. However, having a cholesterol check and knowing your numbers is critical, and it is not something you should put off until later in life.
The reason is that studies have shown that elevated cholesterol has long-term consequences for heart health. Since there are no apparent symptoms, you may be suffering from it without even realizing it.
The importance of getting a cholesterol check
When there is excess cholesterol in the blood, it may begin to accumulate on the inner walls of the blood vessels, limiting the rate of blood flow to the heart and brain. This may ultimately result in a heart attack or stroke.
High cholesterol may be reduced to a healthy level with statin treatment and certain lifestyle modifications. However, most individuals would not be aware that they have high cholesterol based on how they feel. A lipid panel is a simple screening blood test to help identify individuals susceptible to cardiovascular conditions.
The frequency of cholesterol checks
According to a new Cleveland Clinic study, only one in five Americans knows that lipid panel cholesterol check should start in their 20s, even without any apparent indication of heart disease.
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommends that healthy people without heart disease undergo cholesterol checks every four to six years once they reach age 20. People with heart disease, cholesterol-lowering medicines, and other risk factors may need more regular screening.
A person’s age, risk factors, and family history influence when and how frequently they should receive a cholesterol test. For those under the age of 19 years old, the first test should be done when the child is between 9 and 11 and repeated every five years. If there is a family history of high blood cholesterol, heart attack, or stroke, some children may undergo this screening beginning at 2 years old.
The patient’s primary care physician often recommends the screening. Although cholesterol home test kits are available in pharmacy stores and online, many doctors advise against using them. Since the measurements vary too much from one brand to the next, it is advisable to visit a professional laboratory for the screening.
The lipid panel blood test
Some or all of the following will be measured during the cholesterol check: total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (or “bad” cholesterol), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (“good” cholesterol), and triglycerides. If the results are not within a healthy range, the doctor may recommend a statin or suggest making some dietary or lifestyle adjustments.
Don't put off knowing your cholesterol status
Cholesterol checks and management are critical in lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke. For individuals above 20 years old, the screening should be repeated every five years for younger adults and every one or two years for males ages 45 to 65 and women ages 55 to 65. Talk to your primary care physician to know if you are due for this screening.
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