Cholesterol Tests Overview
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance that is naturally present in the cell membranes of the body. The body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones including vitamin D and the bile acids that help to digest fat. The body requires only small amounts of cholesterol to function normally, and excess amounts may be deposited in artery walls throughout the body. This can lead to narrowing of the coronary arteries in the heart, causing angina and heart attack; narrowing in the carotid arteries that supply the brain, causing stroke; and narrowing of the femoral arteries supplying the legs, causing peripheral artery disease.
What does a cholesterol test measure?
Blood cholesterol measurements can be used to help minimize the risk of stroke, heart attack, and peripheral artery disease. The cholesterol level is one of the many risk factors that can be controlled.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/30/2015
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
Must Read Articles Related to Cholesterol Tests
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Cholesterol Tests:
Please describe your experience with cholesterol tests.
Cholesterol Test - Preparation
Please share your experience with preparation prior to cholesterol tests.
Cholesterol Test - Charts and Levels
What are your cholesterol levels and what are you doing about it?
- Cholesterol Meds and Grapefruit Juice
- 9 Questions to Ask Before Having Surgery
- Are We Close to a Cure for Cancer?
- Early Care for Your Premature Baby
- What to Eat When You Have Cancer
- When to Take More Pain Medication