The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are administered to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.
The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends screening for lipid disorders at least once every 5 years starting at age 20. More frequent or earlier testing may be recommended if you have:
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends screening for children ages 9-11 years old and children 17-21 years old. For children of other ages, screening is only suggested if they have an increased risk factors such as:
Screening is not recommended in children under 2 years old.
Cholesterol levels are checked with a blood test. A blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. You may need to fast for several hours before your blood is taken. The test measures levels of:
Hypercholesterolemia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114250/Hypercholesterolemia. Updated December 19, 2016. Accessed March 13, 2017.
Hypertriglyceridemia. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115419/Hypertriglyceridemia. Updated February 2, 2017. Accessed March 13, 2017.
NHLBI integrated guidelines for pediatric cardiovascular risk reduction. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 13, 2013. Accessed March 13, 2017.
Prevention and treatment of high cholesterol. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Prevention-and-Treatment-of-High-Cholesterol_UCM_001215_Article.jsp#.Vxfpv02FMdU. Updated August 30, 2016. Accessed March 13, 2017.
Last reviewed March 2017 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.