How to measure cholesterol level

Updated March 23, 2017

Measuring your cholesterol level can give you insight into your overall health and help you plan your diet and medication needs. This test is done by a physician and can be easily initiated at your normal checkup. Read on to learn more about how your cholesterol level is measured.

Inform your doctor that you would like to have your cholesterol tested. He or she will advise you on what you should do prior to having the test performed.

Fast for 12 hours. Cholesterol level tests are most accurate after a patient has fasted for a period of time. As such, it is best to visit the doctor in the morning, before you have had breakfast.

Give a blood sample. The physician or health care practitioner will draw a sample of blood and send it to a lab to be tested.

Wait for the lab to return your results. In the lab, they will measure the number of milligrams of cholesterol in your blood. They can also measure triglycerides and analyse your high-density-lipoprotein levels as well.

Have a total cholesterol test performed once every 10 years. This requires only a three-hour fast and is also done by a lab.


The ideal cholesterol level, according to the American Heart Association, is a level below 200 milligrams for every 100 millilitres of blood serum.

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About the Author

Jack Busch graduated from University of Iowa in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in English with honors and has been publishing web content ever since. He has contributed to,, and various other tech websites. He also co-authored "Network Your Computer & Devices Step by Step" (Microsoft Press).