Cholesterol and Triglycerides Tests for Teens: About These Tests

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What are they?

Cholesterol and triglycerides tests measure the amount of fats in your blood. This includes "good" (HDL) and "bad" (LDL) cholesterol.

Why are these tests done?

These tests are done to check the level of certain fats in your blood. The results can help your doctor decide if you need treatment. For instance, you may need to change your diet or be more active.

How do you prepare for these tests?

  • Your doctor may ask you to not eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 14 hours before your blood test. In most cases, you can take your medicines with water the morning of the test.
  • Be sure to tell your doctor about all the nonprescription and prescription medicines and herbs or other supplements you take. Some of these may affect the results of the tests.

How are these tests done?

A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.

What should your cholesterol levels be?

These are general guidelines. Talk to your doctor about your own target levels. Yours will depend on your age, sex, health, and risk for certain health problems. Your doctor may have you aim for these levels:

  • Total cholesterol: Lower than 170 mg/dL
  • LDL cholesterol: Lower than 110 mg/dL

The goal numbers for HDL and triglycerides can depend on your age and sex.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if you have any problems.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.