Because high cholesterol is a silent disease, cholesterol testing is the best way to tell if you have it. Doctors usually recommend cholesterol testing for:
Even if you're not in one of these groups, your doctor may decide to test your cholesterol levels if he or she feels it is needed. It's important to get a cholesterol test if your doctor recommends it, so that you can detect and treat high cholesterol early to reduce your risk of cholesterol-related health problems.
Talk to your doctor about whether you should have your cholesterol tested.
Effective lowering of cholesterol levels saves lives. Lowering cholesterol helps reduce your risk of developing heart disease, heart attacks, and death due to heart disease. Heart disease is the number 2 killer in Canada (second only to cancer), causing about 22% of all deaths.
For every 1.0 mmol/L decrease in your LDL cholesterol (or "bad cholesterol") levels, your risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart disease falls by 20% to 25%. For this reason, it's important to reduce your "bad cholesterol" levels as much as possible - the lower the better! The recommended target for everyone at risk of developing heart disease is to lower LDL cholesterol by at least 50%.
The usual treatment options for high cholesterol are healthy lifestyle changes, used alone or in combination with medications.
Healthy lifestyle changes include:
Learn more about these healthy lifestyle changes here.
Medications for high cholesterol include:
Learn more about these medications here.
High cholesterol usually doesn't cause symptoms, so a cholesterol test is the best way to find out if you have high cholesterol. Your doctor can advise you on whether you should get tested. See "Should you be tested? How often?" to learn more about when cholesterol tests are recommended and how often cholesterol levels are usually tested.
If you're wondering about your cholesterol levels, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss cholesterol testing.
To help you prepare for your visit, print off the Doctor discussion guide, fill out as much information as you can, and bring it to your doctor's visit.
The guide will help you talk to your doctor about cholesterol testing.
Print this guide, fill in as much information as you can, and bring a copy to your next doctor's visit.