How do I Know if I Have High Cholesterol?

A plate of vegetable and stethoscope

High cholesterol has no symptoms, so the only way to really know if your cholesterol is too high is to have a blood test ordered by your doctor. 

What is a cholesterol test?

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you get your cholesterol checked every 4-6 years.  If you have a medical condition or already know your cholesterol is high or borderline-high, you should have your cholesterol checked more often.

A simple blood test called a lipid profile is ordered by your doctor.  You may need to fast for up to 12 hours before the test.  Your lipid profile shows four measured results:

Total cholesterol – This is the total measurement of all the cholesterol in your blood.

LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) – This is the cholesterol that raises your risk for heart disease and stroke. If you have too much LDL cholesterol in your body it will build up in your arteries. This is known as “plaque”.  The more this plaque builds up, the narrower your blood vessels become, restricting the blood flow to your organs.  If enough plaque builds up, it can block the blood flow to your heart causing a heart attack.

HDL cholesterol (“good” cholesterol) – This cholesterol actually absorbs bad cholesterol and takes it back to the liver, which then breaks it down and removes it from your body.  Higher HDL levels protect you from heart disease and stroke.

Triglycerides – fat in your blood stream that may put you at risk for stroke and heart attack.

How do I read my results?


Age may play a factor in elevated LDL levels, as cholesterol levels do seem to increase as we get older.  Other factors may play an important role and may lead to high LDL levels, including:What causes high LDL cholesterol levels?

  • Being overweight
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor dietary choices including eating too much saturated fat, trans fats and cholesterol heavy foods, not enough fiber
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of high LDL cholesterol levels.

What can I do to help reduce my LDL cholesterol levels?

It is important to know that you have the capability to make healthy changes and healthy choices every day to protect yourself from heart disease, heart attack and stroke.  Some tips for helping reduce LDL cholesterol include:

  • Stop smoking
  • Control your weight
  • Eat heart-smart food choices
  • Get daily exercise
  • Lower alcohol consumption
  • Manage your blood pressure and diabetes
  • Take medications for lowing cholesterol

Statin medications may help reduce your cholesterol levels

Rosuvastatin is a statin drug that helps lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good cholesterol in your body, thereby decreasing your risk of stroke, heart attack and heart disease.  It is the generic equivalent of the brand-name Crestor®. It blocks certain enzymes in the liver which makes the liver produce less cholesterol, and it also increases the ability of the liver to break down the cholesterol that is in the blood stream.

If you have questions about your prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our patient representatives will be happy to assist you or transfer you to a licensed Canadian pharmacist for a free consultation.

This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).

Want to learn more? Here are some articles you may find helpful:

Preventing Heart Disease and Stroke with Rosuvastatin

How do Prescription Medications Help You Quit Smoking?

Ten Important Questions to Ask Your Pharmacist.

Which Prescription High Blood Pressure Medication is Right for You?

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