Cholesterol

Do you know how much cholesterol you have and how it affects your health?
These 10 blood tests will help you understand and manage your cholesterol levels. 

High cholesterol levels are a key cause of heart disease. It can cause atherosclerosis or the stiffening of arteries due to plaque formation in blood vessels. Coronary artery disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease can all be caused by elevated cholesterol levels. High cholesterol, if left untreated, may be deadly! The good news is that knowing your numbers and reacting when necessary can help you lower your risk of developing these conditions. 

We provide advanced blood tests for the early diagnosis of heart disease and other cardiovascular problems at Ulta Lab Tests. We also provide information about the most current lab testing to make informed health decisions. With our free guide, you can learn about 10 important lab tests for high cholesterol testing, including LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein), HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein), and triglycerides. We explain how these tests interact so that you can figure out what they mean for your health. 

Other factors that contribute to heart disease include family history, age, gender, race/ethnicity, and lifestyle choices such as smoking or not smoking, food quality, and exercise. You'll be able to take control of your health before it becomes too late if you take advantage of this knowledge. 

Click the link below to read the following articles on advanced cholesterol blood testing. 

You don’t have to live with elevated cholesterol levels or risk developing serious health problems in the future. Our advanced testing options are designed to help people like yourself get peace of mind by knowing if they need treatment for their condition or not.

Choose from the cardiovascular lab tests and panels offered below to take control of your health today.


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Measuring Lipid Subclasses using Ion Mobility

The way most doctors test for heart disease is with a lipid panel. It helps detect what HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol are, so hopefully you can reduce your risk of a possible cardiac event such as a heart attack. Nearly half of all heart attack patients were found to have no prior risk which would indicate they were heading toward an attack.

Quest Diagnostics offers advanced cardiovascular tests that help provide a more accurate and individualized picture of risk. The tests look beyond just HDL and LDL cholesterol to identify undiagnosed (or additional) risk.

These advanced cardiovascular tests, along with your lipid panel, will provide more information that you and your doctor can use to understand your complete cardiovascular health.

Lipid Subclasses as measured by Ion Mobility Technology

Knowing what particles make up your LDL and HDL cholesterol may be important. Ion Mobility Technology provides subclass separation that will allow your healthcare provider to identify your cardiovascular risk over time. Following the change in your lipid profile as you respond to diet, exercise and possible medication to reduce your cardiovascular risk is important. Ion Mobility provides the opportunity to determine if treatment is working and if not, optimize the aggressiveness of therapy to hopefully make a difference that can be seen in the Ion Mobility measurement and graphical representation of your LDL and HDL particles. 

Cardio IQ™ Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility 
Cardio IQ™ Lipid Panel
Cardio IQ™ Direct LDL 
Cardio IQ™ Apolipoprotein Evaluation 
Cardio IQ™ Lipoprotein (A)

Apo B

  • Apo B is a direct measurement of the number of lipoprotein particles, including LDL (“bad cholesterol”), IDL, and VLDL
  • A high Apo B number indicates increased risk for heart disease
  • Certain medications, improved eating habits, increased physical activity, and loss of body fat are some ways to
    improve Apo B

Lipoprotein (A) - Lp(a)

  • High levels of Lp(a) are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Lp(a) levels may be influenced by genetics. Diet and exercise have limited to no effect on lowering Lp(a); however, certain
    medications can lower levels

Cardio IQ® Apolipoprotein Evaluation - (APOLIPOPROTEIN A1, APOLIPOPROTEIN B and APOLIPOPROTEIN B/A1 RATIO)

  • Apolipoprotein A1 is the primary protein associated with HDL cholesterol. Like HDL cholesterol, increased concentrations are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Apolipoprotein B-100 is the primary protein associated with LDL cholesterol and other lipid particles. Like LDL cholesterol, increased concentrations are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The ratio of these two apolipoproteins correlates with risk of cardiovascular disease.

Cardio IQ Advanced Lipid Panel Plus and Inflammation Panel

Measuring Lipid Subclasses using Ion Mobility

The way most doctors test for heart disease is with a lipid panel. It helps detect what HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol are, so hopefully you can reduce your risk of a possible cardiac event such as a heart attack. Nearly half of all heart attack patients were found to have no prior risk which would indicate they were heading toward an attack.

Quest Diagnostics offers advanced cardiovascular tests that help provide a more accurate and individualized picture of risk. The tests look beyond just HDL and LDL cholesterol to identify undiagnosed (or additional) risk.

These advanced cardiovascular tests, along with your lipid panel, will provide more information that you and your doctor can use to understand your complete cardiovascular health.

Lipid Subclasses as measured by Ion Mobility Technology

Knowing what particles make up your LDL and HDL cholesterol may be important. Ion Mobility Technology provides subclass separation that will allow your healthcare provider to identify your cardiovascular risk over time. Following the change in your lipid profile as you respond to diet, exercise and possible medication to reduce your cardiovascular risk is important. Ion Mobility provides the opportunity to determine if treatment is working and if not, optimize the aggressiveness of therapy to hopefully make a difference that can be seen in the Ion Mobility measurement and graphical representation of your LDL and HDL particles. 

Cardio IQ™ Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility 

Cardio IQ™ Lipid Panel

Cardio IQ™ Direct LDL 

Cardio IQ™ Apolipoprotein Evaluation 

Cardio IQ™ Lipoprotein (A)

Apo B

  • Apo B is a direct measurement of the number of lipoprotein particles, including LDL (“bad cholesterol”), IDL, and VLDL
  • A high Apo B number indicates increased risk for heart disease
  • Certain medications, improved eating habits, increased physical activity, and loss of body fat are some ways to
    improve Apo B

Lipoprotein (A) - Lp(a)

  • High levels of Lp(a) are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Lp(a) levels may be influenced by genetics. Diet and exercise have limited to no effect on lowering Lp(a); however, certain
    medications can lower levels

Cardio IQ® Apolipoprotein Evaluation - (APOLIPOPROTEIN A1, APOLIPOPROTEIN B and APOLIPOPROTEIN B/A1 RATIO)

  • Apolipoprotein A1 is the primary protein associated with HDL cholesterol. Like HDL cholesterol, increased concentrations are associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Apolipoprotein B-100 is the primary protein associated with LDL cholesterol and other lipid particles. Like LDL cholesterol, increased concentrations are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The ratio of these two apolipoproteins correlates with risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

Inflammation Panel

 

hs-CRP

  • High levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) indicate inflammation due to infection or tissue injury
  • Modestly elevated CRP levels may be associated with increased heart disease risk. If both CRP and Lp-PLA2 levels are
    high, your risk for a heart attack or stroke increases significantly
  • Certain medications and food may have anti-inflammatory benefits

 

Lp-PLA2

  • High levels of Lp-PLA2 can predict risk of a heart attack or stroke
  • When both Lp-PLA2 levels and systolic blood pressure are high, stroke risk increases significantly
  • Certain medications can reduce levels of Lp-PLA2 

  • Apolipoprotein B, Cardio IQ™
  • CARDIO IQ(R) LP PLA2 ACTIVITY
  • hs-CRP, Cardio IQ™
  • Lipid Panel, Cardio IQ™
  • Lipoprotein (a), Cardio IQ™
  • Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility, Cardio IQ™

Cardio IQ® ASCVD Risk Panel with Score 

This panel provides the 10-year and lifetime risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) using lipid results with anthropomorphic data and family history. 
The ASCVD risk assessment is recommended in the 2013 ACC/AHA Guidelines on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults.

IMPORTANT: For risk calculations to be performed, the following patient-specific information must be provided and recorded at the time of specimen collection:

  • Age: Years 
  • Gender: M (for male) or F (for female) 
  • Height Feet: Feet 
  • Height Inches: Inches 
  • Weight: lbs 
  • Race-African American: Y (for yes) or N (for no) 
  • Systolic Blood Pressure: mmHg
  • Diastolic Blood Pressure: mmHg
  • Treatment for High B.P.: Y (for yes) or N (for no) 
  • Diabetes Status: Y (for yes) or N (for no)
  • Parental History of Diab: Y (for yes) or N (for no) 
  • Smoking Status: Y (for Yes) or N (for no)

 

 


Cardio IQ® Lipoprotein Subfractionation, Ion Mobility

Clinical Significance

There is a correlation between increased risk of premature heart disease with decreasing size of LDL particles. Ion mobility offers the only direct measurement of lipoprotein particle size and concentration for each lipoprotein from HDL3 to large VLDL.

Includes

HDL Particle Number; LDL Particle Number; Non-HDL Particle Number; HDL, Small; HDL Large; LDL, Very Small-d; LDL, Very Small-c; LDL, Very Small-b; LDL, Very Small-a; LDL Small; LDL Medium; LDL, Large-b; LDL, Large-a; IDL, Small; IDL, Large; VLDL, Small; VLDL, Medium; VLDL, Large; LDL Pattern; LDL Peak Size

Patient Preparation

Fasting preferred

Methodology

Ion Mobility

 


  • Lipid Panel with Ratios - 
    • Total Cholesterol
    • HDL Cholesterol,
    • Triglycerides
    • LDL-Cholesterol (calculated)
    • Cholesterol/HDL Ratio (calculated)
    • LDL/HDL Ratio (calculated)
    • Non-HDL Cholesterol (calculated)
  • Lipoprotein (a)
  • Apolipoprotein B
  • Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility, Cardio IQ™ - 
    • LDL Particle Number
    • LDL Small
    • LDL Medium
    • HDL Large
    • LDL Pattern
    • LDL Peak Size

Advanced Cholesterol Panel + Inflammatory Marker

CHOLESTEROL BIOMARKERS

  • Triglycerides 
  • Total Cholesterol
  • HDL Cholesterol
  • LDL Cholesterol 
  • Cholesterol/HDL Ratio 
  • Non- HDL Cholesterol 
  • Apolipoprotein B 
  • LDL Particle Number
  • LDL Peak Size
  • LDL Pattern 
  • HDL Large 
  • LDL Small & Medium 
  • Lipoprotein (a) 

INFLAMMATION BIOMARKERS

  • High sensitivity CRP

QUEST TESTS

  • hs-CRP, Cardio IQ™
  • Lipid Panel, Cardio IQ™
  • Lipoprotein (a), Cardio IQ™
  • Apolipoprotein B, Cardio IQ™ 
  • Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility, Cardio IQ™

Advanced Lipid Panel, Cardio IQ

 

Includes

Cardio IQ® Cholesterol, Total; Cardio IQ® HDL Cholesterol; Cardio IQ® Triglycerides; Cardio IQ® Non-HDL and Calculated Components; Cardio IQ® Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility; Cardio IQ® Apolipoprotein B; Cardio IQ® Lipoprotein (a)

If Triglyceride is >400 mg/dL, Cardio IQ® Direct LDL will be performed at an additional charge


  • hs-CRP [ 10124 ]
  • Lipid Panel with Ratios [ 19543 ]

  • Apolipoprotein A1 + B [ 7018 ]
  • hs-CRP [ 10124 ]
  • Lipid Panel with Ratios [ 19543 ]
  • Lipoprotein (A) [ 34604 ]
  • Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility, Cardio IQ™ [ 91604 ]
  • VLDL Cholesterol [ 319 ]
     

  • Apolipoprotein A1 + B [ 7018 ]
  • Direct LDL [ 8293 ]
  • hs-CRP [ 10124 ]
  • Lipid Panel with Ratios [ 19543 ]
  • Lipoprotein (A) [ 34604 ]
  • Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility, Cardio IQ™ [ 91604 ]
  • LP PLA2 ACTIVITY [ 94267 ]
  • VLDL Cholesterol [ 319 ]
     

  • ApoE Genotype, Cardio IQ™ [ 90649 ]
  • Apolipoprotein A1 + B [ 7018 ]
  • Direct LDL [ 8293 ]
  • hs-CRP [ 10124 ]
  • Lipid Panel with Ratios [ 19543 ]
  • Lipoprotein (A) [ 34604 ]
  • Lipoprotein Fractionation, Ion Mobility, Cardio IQ™ [ 91604 ]
  • LP PLA2 ACTIVITY [ 94267 ]
  • VLDL Cholesterol [ 319 ]
     


Lipid Panel includes: Total Cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, Triglycerides, LDL-Cholesterol (calculated), Cholesterol/HDL Ratio (calculated), Non-HDL Cholesterol (calculated)Total cholesterol —this test measures all of the cholesterol in all the lipoprotein particles.High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) — measures the cholesterol in HDL particles; often called "good cholesterol" because it removes excess cholesterol and carries it to the liver for removal.Direct LDL - Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) — calculates the cholesterol in LDL particles; often called "bad cholesterol" because it deposits excess cholesterol in walls of blood vessels, which can contribute to atherosclerosis. Usually, the amount of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) is calculated using the results of total cholesterol, HDL-C, and triglycerides.Triglycerides — measures all the triglycerides in all the lipoprotein particles; most is in the very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL).



Lipid Panel with Direct LDL contains the following tests:

  • Direct LDL 
  • Lipid Panel with Ratios

A lipid panel includes:Total cholesterol —this test measures all of the cholesterol in all the lipoprotein particles.High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) — measures the cholesterol in HDL particles; often called "good cholesterol" because it removes excess cholesterol and carries it to the liver for removal.Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) — calculates the cholesterol in LDL particles; often called "bad cholesterol" because it deposits excess cholesterol in walls of blood vessels, which can contribute to atherosclerosis. Usually, the amount of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) is calculated using the results of total cholesterol, HDL-C, and triglycerides.Triglycerides — measures all the triglycerides in all the lipoprotein particles; most is in the very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL).Very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) — calculated from triglycerides/5; this formula is based on the typical composition of VLDL particles.Non-HDL-C — calculated from total cholesterol minus HDL-C.Cholesterol/HDL ratio — calculated ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-C.


Lipid Panel with Direct LDL includes:Total cholesterol —this test measures all of the cholesterol in all the lipoprotein particles.High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) — measures the cholesterol in HDL particles; often called ""good cholesterol"" because it removes excess cholesterol and carries it to the liver for removal. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) — calculates the cholesterol in LDL particles; often called ""bad cholesterol"" because it deposits excess cholesterol in walls of blood vessels, which can contribute to atherosclerosis. Usually, the amount of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) is calculated using the results of total cholesterol, HDL-C, and triglycerides.Triglycerides — measures all the triglycerides in all the lipoprotein particles; most is in the very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL). If Triglyceride result is >400 mg/dL, Direct LDL will be performed at an additional charge.


Apolipoprotein A1 (APO A1) has been reported to be a better predictor than HDL cholesterol and triglycerides for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Low levels of APO A1 in serum are associated with increased risk of CAD. The measurement of APO A1 may be of value in identifying patients with atherosclerosis.

Apolipoprotein A1 (APO A1) has been reported to be a better predictor than HDL cholesterol and triglycerides for Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). Low levels of APO A1 in serum are associated with increased risk of CAD. The measurement of APO A1 may be of value in identifying patients with atherosclerosis. Apolipoprotein B (APO B) has been reported to be a more powerful indicator of CAD than total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol in angiographic CAD and in survivors of myocardial infarction. In some patients with CAD, APO B is elevated even in the presence of normal LDL cholesterol.

Most Popular
Apolipoprotein B (APO B) has been reported to be a powerful indicator of CAD. In some patients with CAD, APO B is elevated even in the presence of normal LDL cholesterol.

Increased CRP levels are found in inflammatory conditions including: bacterial infection, rheumatic fever, active arthritis, myocardial infarction, malignancies and in the post-operative state. This test cannot detect the relatively small elevations of CRP that are associated with increased cardiovascular risk.

C-Reactive Protein Cardiac (hs CRP) Useful in predicting risk for cardiovascular disease.


Cardio IQ® Diabetes and ASCVD Risk Panel with Scores - Includes:  Cardio IQ® Glucose; Cardio IQ® Hemoglobin A1c; Cardio IQ® Cholesterol, Total; Cardio IQ® HDL Cholesterol; Cardio IQ® Triglycerides; Cardio IQ® Non-HDL and Calculated Components; Cardio IQ® Risks and Personal Factors

If Triglyceride is >400 mg/dL, Cardio IQ® Direct LDL will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 83721).

Clinical Significance

The increasing prevalence of obesity has led to an epidemic of diabetes mellitus and related complications, including ASCVD. Prediction of the risk of ASCVD and of developing diabetes in the Cardio IQ® lab report will simplify and improve the communication of those risks to patients.

This panel provides the 10-year and lifetime risk of ASCVD events and the 8-year risk of developing diabetes. The lipid panel results will aid in the assessment of ASCVD. Assessment of 10-year risk of a first atherosclerotic cardiovascular (ASCVD) event is recommended by the 2013 ACC/AHA Guidelines on the Treatment of Blood Cholesterol to Reduce Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk in Adults. These guidelines recommend initiating statin therapy based on 10-year ASCVD risk score. Assessment of 8-year risk of developing diabetes mellitus is based on laboratory test results with anthropomorphic data and family history. This algorithm was developed in the Framingham cohort, and is intended to aid in the identification of patients at risk for developing diabetes, permitting pharmacological or lifestyle interventions.

IMPORTANT: For risk calculations to be performed, the following patient-specific information must be provided and recorded at the time of specimen collection:

  • Age: Years 
  • Gender: M (for male) or F (for female) 
  • Height Feet: Feet 
  • Height Inches: Inches 
  • Weight: lbs 
  • Race-African American: Y (for yes) or N (for no) 
  • Systolic Blood Pressure: mmHg
  • Diastolic Blood Pressure: mmHg
  • Treatment for High B.P.: Y (for yes) or N (for no) 
  • Diabetes Status: Y (for yes) or N (for no)
  • Parental History of Diab: Y (for yes) or N (for no) 
  • Smoking Status: Y (for Yes) or N (for no)

Cardio IQ® Diabetes Risk Panel with Score - 

Includes
Cardio IQ® Glucose; Cardio IQ® Hemoglobin A1c; Cardio IQ® Cholesterol, Total; Cardio IQ® HDL Cholesterol; Cardio IQ® Triglycerides; Cardio IQ® Non-HDL and Calculated Components; Cardio IQ® 8 Year Diabetes Risk

If Triglyceride is >400 mg/dL, Cardio IQ® Direct LDL will be performed at an additional charge (CPT code(s): 83721).

Clinical Significance

Permit the assessment of serum glucose levels and lipid levels and the prediction of the 8-year future risk of developing diabetes mellitus in patients without diabetes mellitus.

• Assess risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus
• Identify lifestyle interventions and/or pharmacotherapy
• This test provides an 8-year risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes mellitus is defined as a deficiency of insulin secretion. Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for greater than 90% of all diabetes cases, is caused by a combination of insulin resistance and an inadequate compensatory insulin secretion.

Type 2 diabetes frequently goes undiagnosed, because it has no classic symptoms of diabetes and it progresses slowly from a pre-diabetic state. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 37% of individuals that are greater than 20 years old and approximately  half of those are greater than 65 years old have pre-diabetes. These individuals are at high risk for progression to type 2 diabetes and are candidates for preventive therapy that include lifestyle modification, such as weight  loss, increased physical activity, and medication.

IMPORTANT: For risk calculations to be performed, the following patient-specific information must be provided and recorded at the time of specimen collection:

  • Age: Years 
  • Gender: M (for male) or F (for female) 
  • Height Feet: Feet 
  • Height Inches: Inches 
  • Weight: lbs 
  • Race-African American: Y (for yes) or N (for no) 
  • Systolic Blood Pressure: mmHg
  • Diastolic Blood Pressure: mmHg
  • Treatment for High B.P.: Y (for yes) or N (for no) 
  • Diabetes Status: Y (for yes) or N (for no)
  • Parental History of Diab: Y (for yes) or N (for no) 
  • Smoking Status: Y (for Yes) or N (for no)


Cholesterol is a wax-like substance in your blood that your body needs to build healthy cells, but it only needs so much. If you have more than you need, whether that's from a genetic predisposition or lifestyle choices, it can build up in your blood vessels. 

That build-up cholesterol looks like fatty deposits in your blood vessels, which restricts blood flow through them. 

You can think of healthy blood vessels like a hose or a straw. Liquid (blood) flows smoothly through it to the final destination. But when fatty deposits build upon the sides of the vessels, it's like you're pinching part of the hose.

That, in turn, raises blood pressure since the body has to work harder to get your blood from here to there, and a diagnosis of high blood pressure may lead to your doctor suggesting you get cholesterol testing. 

High Cholesterol: The Silent Killer 

Sometimes you'll hear cholesterol called a "silent killer" because there's no way to detect it other than through blood tests. Your doctor may inform you that you're at risk of high cholesterol or order tests based on other factors, like your blood pressure or family history, but they can't be sure until they take a blood sample. 

As busy adults trying to work and raise a family, it's easy to put off going to the doctor as often as we should, which gives high cholesterol a chance to build unnoticed. 

Risk Factors for High Cholesterol 

Don't know whether you should be worried about your cholesterol levels or not? Look at the risk factors below, self-evaluate your risk, and then communicate any concerns to your doctor. 

Poor Diet 

The average American diet is high in cholesterol. If your diet is high in processed foods, animal products, and fats, you're at a greater risk of developing high cholesterol. 

There are no foods that "reduce" cholesterol immediately, but eating a diet heavy in green vegetables and plant-based foods is a protective factor. 

Like the cereal Cheerios, some whole grains help lower your cholesterol, too, as they're a long-acting and plant-based source of energy. 

If your blood tests come back with high or borderline-high cholesterol levels, expect your doctor to suggest changes to your diet. 

You're Overweight 

While the BMI is not the most comprehensive medical assessment, a high BMI still puts you at risk for health complications. You can calculate your BMI using calculators online. If your number comes back at 30 or above, you have a higher risk of high cholesterol. 

Smoking 

Smokers are at risk of developing high cholesterol, as the toxins in cigarettes and e-cigarettes are harmful to the heart. 

Genetic Factors 

You can't always control your high cholesterol risk. You can reduce it by following healthy lifestyle practices (avoiding the risk factors above), but some people have a higher risk due to genetic factors. 

If you're born with or develop diabetes, your doctor will monitor your cholesterol levels. Due to the complexities of having diabetes (and the testing involved), it's rare to see people with diabetes with high cholesterol undiagnosed. 

Liver Issues 

This genetic predisposition is sneakier than cholesterol's link to diabetes. You could be born with a liver that produces too much natural cholesterol, or your genetic makeup may prevent cells from removing it from your blood in the way they're meant to. 

There's no way to detect this other than blood tests, though your doctor may have told you you're at risk due to family history. 

The Symptoms of High Cholesterol

There are no direct symptoms of high cholesterol. That's why getting a blood test is so important if you or your doctor are concerned. 

Testing is quick and covered by most insurance plans - there's no reason not to know! 

I'm Concerned About My Risk: What Should I Do? 

If you're worried or you want to be safe, they should have no qualms ordering these tests for you. There are no side effects to getting these tests done, apart from the mild discomfort of a blood draw. 

No matter what the results are, it's better to know. 

If you're worried about your cholesterol or your doctor just ordered tests, and you want to know what that means, we're covering the top ten blood tests for cholesterol below. 

Standard Cholesterol Testing Lab Tests

Your doctor may order one or multiple tests to detect your cholesterol levels, or you can even order them yourself. 

Ordering them yourself through this link is convenient and easy. It's an excellent choice for busy, health-conscious individuals. 

Either way, you can detect cholesterol through: 

1. A Lipid Panel With Ratios 

Lipids are an organic compound found in your blood that acts as one of the building blocks for healthy cells. They're also in charge of delivering cholesterol (both good and bad) around the body, which is why doing a lipid profile to test for cholesterol is a good choice.

By taking a small vial of blood (usually less than 10 ml), the lab can test:

  • Total Cholesterol
  • HDL (good cholesterol)
  • LDL (bad cholesterol)
  • Triglycerides (VLDL)

Your doctor or the lab should call or update your health profile with the results, with both the number/percentages and a worded interpretation that you can easily understand. 

The same is true when you order a lipid panel off our website. Our turnaround is sometimes even quicker than a doctor's office, as we have fewer hoops to jump through. 

Your test will come with detailed instructions and information on obtaining your results.

Reading Your Results 

As you may have noticed by reading the descriptions of the tests above, there are two types of cholesterol. There's HDL, which is considered "good" or "protective" cholesterol, and LDL, which is "harmful" or "bad."

The difference is simple. HDL transports excess cholesterol to your liver so that it can be processed and expelled from your body. The higher your HDL levels are (within the healthy range), the better your body keeps your vessels healthy. 

On the other hand, LDL is excess cholesterol that can lead to plaque or fatty build-ups in your arteries and put you at a higher risk of the issues we mentioned above. 

Raising your HDL levels won't "cure" high cholesterol, but it will help your body process some of your excesses more efficiently, lowering your LDL levels. 

Raising your HDL levels and lowering your LDL's go hand in hand. 

2. Apolipoprotein B

Another option is to run an Apolipoprotein B test, which takes the same kind of sample (and can be ordered simultaneously as any other test). 

This protein, usually shortened to apo B, is a protein that helps metabolize (break down) lipids and is a central component of LDL or bad cholesterol. 

A high apo B test result is indicative of elevated LDL. It's better to know - order an Apolipoprotein B test here.

3. High Sensitivity C-reactive Protein (hs-CRP) 

This is another test that will detect cholesterol levels but also assess your risk of developing heart disease. 

This particular test is drawn the same way as the tests before and is usually done in conjunction with a lipids panel (which may need to be done fasted). 

The hs-CRP test doesn't directly test your cholesterol. Instead, it looks at the level of inflammation in your blood, which is related to atherosclerosis (the narrowing of blood vessels due to LDL build-up). 

Testing your hs-CRP levels is a good test to do, along with a lipids panel to not only check what your cholesterol levels are but how much of a toll they're taking on the body. 

If you don't have time to go to a physician, this test will give you a more in-depth understanding of your cholesterol health risks in combination with your lipid panels. Order it now

4. Lipoprotein Fractionation

Lipids are involved in more organic processes than just moving cholesterol around the body. They carry other amino acids, proteins, and organic material. 

This test looks at the makeup of the lipids available in your blood and determines the size of each molecule within the lipid. 

It also goes hand in hand with a lipid profile and helps identify risk factors, including (but not limited to) high cholesterol. 

Order this test here

5. Lipoprotein A 

If you know you have a family history of heart disease or high cholesterol, then that's a good time to run a Lipoprotein (a) test. 

This blood test identifies apolipoprotein in the blood, a particle found in LDL molecules. 

You may also want to order this test if your test shows moderate or risk-level but not high cholesterol. Why? This is one of the tests that can determine if you have a genetic predisposition to more elevated cholesterol. The higher your Lp(a) levels, the less likely your LDL will respond to typical risk-reduction strategies.

Don't worry, that doesn't mean you don't have treatment options - it's more likely you'll be looking at medication than lifestyle change factors. It's better to know - order now

6. Apolipoprotein A1

Another test that looks at your apolipoprotein levels is often done to see how high cholesterol reduction campaigns are working. If you've been trying to get your cholesterol down but don't have time to do a full (fasted) lipid panel, this is a good choice. 

Your doctor may also order this (or direct you to order it on our site) to assess your risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in response to your family history. 

If you're a parent and you know you have a history of CVD, talk to your pediatrician about the relevance of this test for your child, then order it online

7. Lp-PLA²

Like the hs-CRP test, this lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A² looks at inflammation levels in your blood vessels. 

A high level of Lp-PLA² in your blood suggests a higher risk for CVD and certain types of strokes. Please don't risk it; order your test here

8. VLDL Cholesterol Test 

There are technically two types of "bad" cholesterol. LDL and VLDL - and no, the V does not stand for "very" or anything that denotes quantification or intensity. 

VLDL is simply a sub-type of LDL with more triglycerides than LDL molecules. When you have high LDL levels, both types are present. 

This test should come as a part of your lipids panel, though, as you can see, it's available separately as well

9. Direct LDL

By this time, you know what LDL is, and you know that it's preferable to have lower levels if you're only interested in seeing your LDL levels and not your VLDL or HDL, order this test. 

Order this test here

10. APOE Genotyping

Finally, you may order an APOE genotyping test, though it's less common than the options listed above. The apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype is a genetic risk factor for dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and cardiovascular disease (CVD). It includes three alleles (e2, e3, e4) located on chromosome 19q3.2. Those with at least one e4 allele are at increased risk for CVD outcomes.

  • Homozygous 3 - Normal lipid metabolism and normal risk for CHD
  • Heterozygous or homozygous for isoform: 2 - Increased risk for high levels of plasma triglyceride and CHD
  • Heterozygous or homozygous for isoform: 4 - Increased risk for high levels of total cholesterol and CHD

Order this test to determine if you possess a higher risk of developing CVD.

Why Order Tests Online? 

Depending on your insurance, provider, and location, it may make more sense for you to order tests online. If you have an HSA plan, our tests likely qualify for your HSA. 

When you order from us, you will get a notification that your cholesterol testing results are ready, which will direct you to a secure patient portal. 

You can then share these results with your physician or use them for your peace of mind. 

Before you order, be sure to check out the homepage for any specials we're running, as it's our goal to provide you with as many options as possible at the lowest price without sacrificing quality.