Do you know your cholesterol numbers? Most Americans don’t, yet millions of adults either have heart disease or are at risk of it. The next time you go to the clinic for an annual physical exam, ask your doctor about getting your cholesterol tested. High cholesterol doesn’t cause any symptoms, so you can have the test even if you feel healthy overall. If you do have abnormal cholesterol levels, your physician can get you started on a treatment plan to help you live a long, healthy life.
Why Cholesterol Tests Are Important
Many people avoid going to the doctor’s office unless they feel sick or sustain an injury. But with preventive healthcare, many serious health problems can be avoided, or detected early and treated effectively. Cholesterol tests are a simple way to get to know your own body better, and the results can guide you as you make lifestyle decisions. People who have high cholesterol and don’t realize it aren’t getting the medical help they need to reduce their risk of these complications :
- Heart attack
- Chronic kidney disease
- Peripheral vascular disease
Who Needs Cholesterol Tests
Most heart disease experts recommend getting your cholesterol checked every five years, starting at the age of 18. However, your doctor may recommend more frequent testing if you’re at high risk. Risk factors include the following:
- Overweight or obesity
- Tobacco use
- Family history of heart attacks or high cholesterol
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High-fat diet
Men over age 45 and women over age 55 are automatically presumed to be at a higher risk too. Children between the ages of nine and 11 should have a cholesterol test. This health screening isn’t recommended for children ages 12 through 16 since hormonal changes associated with puberty can interfere with the results.
How the Test Is Performed
Cholesterol levels are evaluated with a blood sample. Some cholesterol tests require no preparation, while others require patients to consume nothing but water for a period of time beforehand. If you’re nervous about needles, tell the technician. He or she will have experience helping patients with anxiety get through a blood draw.
Routine physical exams are always available at Paramount Urgent Care, and we can perform blood tests, including cholesterol checks. Our five walk-in clinics around the Orlando area are open seven days per week. For more information, please visit www.paramounturgentcare.com.