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    What Do My Cholesterol Results Mean?

    By By Geri K. Metzger, Contributing Writer
    September 25, 2012, 9:19:57 AM EDT

    A simple blood test can reveal the hidden details of your cholesterol. But knowing what the numbers mean is not so simple.


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    Types of cholesterol measured You would think that a lab test for cholesterol would simply tell you how much cholesterol you have. And it does, but wait: There are several cholesterol measurements. These are:

    -Total cholesterol
    -HDL cholesterol
    -LDL cholesterol

    Total cholesterol HDL cholesterol is the "good" cholesterol. It's carried on high-density lipoproteins. Having more of it means you're more likely to have a lower risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

    LDL cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol. It's carried on low-density lipoproteins. You're better off with lower levels of LDL cholesterol, because it's linked to a higher risk of heart disease.

    Note that total cholesterol does not equal HDL cholesterol plus LDL cholesterol. This is because there are still more types of cholesterol, which we won't talk about here.

    Your cholesterol numbers Cholesterol is measured as milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood, which is abbreviated like this: mg/dL.

    A lipid profile test (total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides) is done after a 9 to 12 hour fast. The HDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides can be measured and then the LDL can be calculated using these numbers. Here is what the levels mean.

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