Your doctor may ask you to fast for 8 to 12 hours before getting your blood drawn. That means you’ll need to avoid eating or drinking anything other than water during that time. However, recent studies suggest that fasting isn’t always necessary, so follow your doctor’s instructions in regard to your particular health concerns.Generally, a total cholesterol level above 200 milligrams per deciliter is considered high. However, safe levels of cholesterol can vary from person to person depending on health history and current health concerns, and are best determined by your doctor. Your doctor will use your lipid panel to make a hyperlipidemia diagnosis.
There are two types of cholesterol, LDL and HDL. You’ve probably heard them called “bad” and “good” cholesterol, respectively. LDL (“bad”) cholesterol builds up in your artery walls, making them hard and narrow. HDL (“good”) cholesterol cleans up excess “bad” cholesterol and moves it away from the arteries, back to your liver. Hyperlipidemia is caused by having too much LDL cholesterol in your blood and not enough HDL cholesterol to clear it up.Unhealthy lifestyle choices can raise “bad” cholesterol levels and lower “good” cholesterol levels. If you’re overweight, eating lots of fatty foods, smoking, or not getting enough exercise, then you’re at risk.