Standard Cholesterol Tests Are For Dinosaurs!

by Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Filed Under: Diagnostic Tools, Heart Health, Cholesterol
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

High cholesterol is not the primary heart risk factor that it was once believed to be. Still, I see the anxiety in patients’ faces when they tell me they have total cholesterol scores above 200. If you’re one of them, I’m here to tell you not to worry. High cholesterol is not a death sentence, but healthy cholesterol isn’t a sign that you’re not at risk for cardiovascular problems either.

Put simply, high cholesterol is a signal that you should have a more sophisticated blood test that will measure the various subtypes of your LDL and HDL, and tell you whether your cholesterol warrants attention or is merely elevated. This type of information, which hasn’t been available until recently, can then help you make health and lifestyle choices that will have the best odds of improving your situation.

The standard blood lipid tests that most doctors use to monitor cholesterol belong in the age of dinosaurs. Sure, they tell you how much LDL, HDL, cholesterol triglycerides, and total cholesterol you have in your blood, but that’s about it. Rather than how much, what you really need to know is what kind of LDL and HDL you have. Fortunately, there are tests available that can provide this information, which I'll share in my next blog posting.

In the meantime, for more information about reducing cholesterol, visit

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