Very high cholesterol runs in my family. Are there any special tests I need to assess my cholesterol levels when evaluating my risk for heart disease?
First and foremost, you need to know that much of what passes for “high cholesterol” is in fact harmless.
Your body makes and needs cholesterol to function, and the numbers from a total cholesterol test really don’t mean much. What really informs you and your doctor is the type of cholesterol fraction patterns you have. A negative cholesterol reading would be a dominant pattern or large number of dense, small cholesterol particles, which are the most highly inflammatory and dangerous cholesterol particles. Ideally, your cholesterol particles should be predominantly large and “fluffy.”
Unfortunately, standard blood lipid tests won’t reveal your cholesterol pattern. So ask your doctor to prescribe one of the new generation cholesterol tests. The tests I recommend are the Vertical Auto Profile (VAP) test or the Lipoprotein Particle Profile (LPP) test. Learn more about the VAP and LPP cholesterol tests. Both are covered by Medicare and most insurance plans.
WATCH: Why You Should Ask for a Cholesterol Fractionation or Particle Size Test