Individuals who were given a cholesterol test, also called a lipid profile, should receive their cholesterol results within 24-72 hours of their blood collection for analysis. Cholesterol test results may be disseminated to the patient from their provider, or laboratory technician if testing was not completed through a primary office, by phone, email, or patient portal if available. However, patients are encouraged to contact their provider if they have not received their cholesterol test results within a week to ensure their sample is being processed efficiently and accurately.1,2
Providers will examine their patient’s lipid profile results, and, in conjunction with the patient’s risk factors (diabetes, hypertension, smoking), they will calculate the 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk.3 Depending on the patient’s risk factors and 10-year ASCVD risk, some providers may request additional follow-up appointments with their patients to initiate lifestyle and medication modifications in order to treat cholesterol levels.1,3 Some of these modifications may include incorporating healthier foods and exercise into patients’ daily lives and possibly the initiation of a statin, a medication used to treat hyperlipidemia3,4 Initiation of a statin is recommended when a patient scores a 7.5 or above on their ASCVD assessment.3
Lipid profiles are comprised of values for three types of lipids in the blood, measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Values will be listed for high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (good cholesterol), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (bad cholesterol), triglycerides, and total cholesterol, which is comprised of HDL, LDL, and other non-HDL cholesterols. The desirable cholesterol levels of a patient will vary depending on their risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The 2018 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC) Guideline on Management of Blood Cholesterol suggests that a desirable level for total cholesterol for adults is less than 150 mg/dL, which indicates the level of LDL cholesterol should be below 100 mg/dL.3 The AHA/ACA also indicate that triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dL and HDL cholesterol should be above 60 mg/dL.3,5
- American Heart Association. How to get your cholesterol tested. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/how-to-get-your-cholesterol-tested. Published March 22, 2019. Accessed September 12, 2020.
- National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute. Blood tests. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-tests. Published 2019. Accessed September 12, 2020.
- Grundy SM, Stone NJ, Bailey AL, et al. 2018 AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/ADA/AGS/APhA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA guideline on the management of blood cholesterol. Circulation. 2018:CIR0000000000000625.
- Kelly RB. Diet and exercise in the management of hyperlipidemia. Am Fam Physician. 2010;81(9):1097-1102.
- Goff DC, Jr., Lloyd-Jones DM, Bennett G, et al. 2013 ACC/AHA guideline on the assessment of cardiovascular risk: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association task force on practice guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013;63(25 part B):2935-2959.