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Cholesterol, Total (also see Lipid Screening)

Cholesterol is a major predictor of coronary artery disease. The National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that every adult have a total serum cholesterol and that other nonlipid coronary heart disease risk factors be assessed. Cholesterol tends to be higher in the winter than in the summer.

Lipid levels are interpreted as follows:

Lipid Level (mg/dL)



Desirable Cholesterol Level

200 - 239

Borderline Cholesterol Level


High Cholesterol Level

If cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dL, testing should be repeated within five years or during the next physical examination. If cholesterol is between 200 and 239 mg/dL, and less than two risk factors are present the cholesterol should be repeated annually. If cholesterol is above 240 mg/dL or two or more risk factors are present, lipoprotein analysis should be done. All cholesterol levels above 200 mg/dL should be confirmed by repeat measurement and the average used to guide clinical decisions. See lipoprotein analysis.

Specimen requirement is one SST tube of blood collected after an overnight fast.

Cholesterol, HDL

See HDL cholesterol and Lipid Screening

Cholesterol, LDL

See LDL Cholesterol and Lipid Screening

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