Why this test?
- To assess the risk of developing atherosclerosis and heart problems.
- For the prevention of many diseases.
In what cases is it prescribed?
- At least once every 5 years for all adults over the age of 20 (usually it is included in the list of a standard set of tests during preventive examinations).
- Together with tests for LDL-C, LDL-C, HDL-C, triglycerides and the atherogenicity factor - this is the so-called lipidogram.
- Several times a year, if a diet with limited animal fat and / or cholesterol-lowering drugs are taken (to see if the person reaches the target cholesterol level and, accordingly, the risk of cardiovascular disease is reduced).
- If one or more risk factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases are present in the patient's life: smoking, a certain age period (men over 45 years old, women over 55 years old), high blood pressure (140/90 mm Hg and higher), increased cholesterol level or cardiovascular disease in other family members (heart attack or stroke in a close male relative younger than 55 or female younger than 65), coronary heart disease, previous myocardial infarction or stroke, diabetes, overweight bodies, alcohol abuse, eating large amounts of food containing animal fats, low physical activity.
- At the age of 2-10, a child in whose family someone had heart disease at a young age or high cholesterol.
Cholesterol (Cholesterol) is a fat-like substance vital to the body. The correct scientific name for this substance is "cholesterol" (the ending "ol" indicates that it belongs to alcohols), however, the name "cholesterol", which we will use later in this article, has become widespread in the mass literature. Cholesterol is involved in the formation of cell membranes of all organs and tissues of the body. Hormones are formed on the basis of cholesterol, which participate in the growth, development of the body and the implementation of the function of reproduction. Bile acids are formed from cholesterol, which are part of bile, thanks to which fats are absorbed in the intestines.
Cholesterol does not dissolve in water, therefore, for circulation in the body, it is "packaged" in a protein shell consisting of special proteins - apolipoproteins. The resulting complex (cholesterol + apolipoprotein) is called a lipoprotein.
Several types of lipoproteins circulate in the blood, differing in their component composition: very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL-C and VLDL-C are considered "bad" types of cholesterol, as they contribute to the formation of plaques in the arteries, HDL-C, on the contrary, are called "good" because excess cholesterol is removed from the composition of HDL.
Analysis of total cholesterol (cholesterol) shows the total amount of cholesterol (both "bad" and "good") circulating in the blood in the form of lipoproteins. The liver produces a sufficient amount of cholesterol for the needs of the body, but some comes with food, mainly meat and fatty dairy products.
If a person has a hereditary tendency to increase cholesterol or consumes too much cholesterol-containing food, the level of cholesterol in the blood can increase and cause harm to the body. Excess amounts of cholesterol are deposited in the walls of blood vessels in the form of plaques, which can limit the movement of blood through the vessel, and also make the vessels more rigid (atherosclerosis), which significantly increases the risk of heart diseases (ischemic disease, heart attack) and stroke.