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Cholesterol Testing

Cholesterol occurs naturally in the body and helps to build new cells and produce hormones, among other functions. While the liver produces all the cholesterol the body needs, cholesterol also comes from common foods such foods as milk, eggs and meat.

An excessive amount of cholesterol, however, could lead to heart health complications such as heart disease and stroke. Taking a cholesterol test will help identify abnormal cholesterol levels and help you to devise a plan to improve your cholesterol numbers.

At Walgreens, you can schedule the following cholesterol test:

Full Cholesterol Panel Test

The test, also known as a lipid profile, will test for:

  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein), the "bad cholesterol"
  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein), the "good cholesterol"
  • Triglycerides, another form of fat in the blood

Each test includes a blood pressure check and a consultation with a Walgreens pharmacist to discuss your results.For the Full Cholesterol Panel Test, fasting for between 9 and 12 hours of no food or drink (other than water) is required, unless advised otherwise by your physician.

Schedule a Full Cholesterol Panel test

HDL, "Good" Cholesterol

HDL cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein, is sometimes called "good" cholesterol. Lipoproteins are made of fat and protein. They carry cholesterol, triglycerides, and other fats, called lipids, in the blood from other parts of your body to your liver.

The HDL cholesterol test will check the level of cholesterol in your blood and to see if you may be at high risk for a heart attack, stroke or another cardiovascular problem. Studies of both men and women have shown that the higher your HDL cholesterol, the lower your risk of coronary artery disease.

The main function of HDL cholesterol is to help soak up excess cholesterol from the walls of blood vessels and carry it to the liver, where it breaks down and is removed from the body in the bile.

The cholesterol test for HDL cholesterol actually measures how much cholesterol is in each high-density lipoprotein particle, not the actual amount of HDL in the blood.

LDL, "Bad" Cholesterol

LDL cholesterol, which stands for low-density lipoprotein, is also commonly referred to as "bad" cholesterol. Lipoproteins are made of fat and protein and carry cholesterol, triglycerides, and other fats, called lipids, in the blood to various parts of the body. LDL cholesterol is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, and a lower LDL cholesterol level corresponds to a lower risk.

Performing a Cholesterol Test

Walgreens pharmacists conduct a cholesterol test by finger stick.

Test results are provided within minutes and will show the cholesterol level in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Your results will also show major blood lipid fractions, i.e., total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Testing should be obtained at least once every five years in adults ages 20 and over.

Preparing for a Cholesterol Test

To get the most accurate results, you should not eat or drink anything for between 9 and 12 hours before the test, unless advised otherwise by your physician. You may drink water, but avoid other beverages, such as coffee, tea or soda. For the purpose of testing, the total cholesterol and HDL test is often done without fasting overnight.

Your health care provider may tell you to stop taking drugs that can affect the test. Never stop taking any medicine without first talking to your doctor.

Who Should Receive a Cholesterol Test?

A coronary risk profile may be done:

  • To test adults for high blood cholesterol
  • To follow people who have had high cholesterol levels and are receiving treatment

Testing for adults:

  • The first test is performed between ages 20 and 35 in men and ages 20 and 45 in women (Note: Different national medical organizations recommend different starting ages.)
  • Follow-up testing should be done every five years.
  • Testing is done for anyone who develops diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or another illness caused by atherosclerosis.
  • Follow-up testing is done to determine how well diet and medications are controlling high cholesterol.

This test is often done to determine your risk for coronary artery disease. High blood cholesterol and triglycerides have been linked to heart attack and stroke.

Schedule a cholesterol test now

Available to ages 18 and over at select Walgreens during pharmacy hours. A1C testing available only to self-identified diabetics. Subject to availability. Test results are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the absence or presence of any health condition. Recipients are encouraged to report test results to their primary care physician. Pharmacist consultation with patient does not constitute medical advice. For the Full Cholesterol Panel test, fasting for 9-12 hours of no food or drink (other than water) is required.

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