Cholesterol Testing


Cholesterol Testing

Cholesterol Testing

Page Contents

Having a Cholesterol Test
About Your Cholesterol Test Results
Familial Hypercholesterolaemia
How to Lower Your Cholesterol



Having a cholesterol test is the only way you can check your cholesterol. This is because high cholesterol does not cause any symptoms, and the only way to check your cholesterol levels is to have this simple blood test. High cholesterol is when you have too much cholesterol, which is essentially a fatty substance within your blood. Eating fatty food, being overweight, not taking enough exercise, smoking, and drinking alcohol are often the root causes of high cholesterol. Although, it is worth knowing high cholesterol can also be inherited, this is known as Familial hypercholesterolaemia and usually starts from a young age. For more information about familial hypercholesterolaemia, please click here.

Too much cholesterol within your blood can lead to blockages within your arteries, which in turn blocks your blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart events, such as heart attacks and strokes. The good news is that you can be proactive in lowering your cholesterol by eating healthily and getting more exercise. Some people may also need to take medication, although this will be prescription medication and requires you to see your doctor.



Having a Cholesterol Test

Having a cholesterol test is extremely easy, simply come to us at P&S Chemist and ask a member of our pharmacy team to provide one. If you are over 40, overweight, or have high cholesterol or other long-term health conditions in your family, NHS England recommends you get tested as you are more likely to have high cholesterol. there are two ways of having a cholesterol test.


  1. The finger-prick test: We provide this type of test on a day-to-day basis and is the test you would receive during your NHS Health Check at P&S Chemist. This cholesterol test is an ideal way to spot the early warning signs of diabetes and heart disease. This test is done by pricking your finger, and a drop of blood is placed on a paper strip, which is then fed into a machine that will check your cholesterol within minutes.
  2. Taking blood from your arm: This type of test involves the use of a syringe to take the blood sample. This is then sent to a laboratory to check your cholesterol levels. P&S Chemist provides this service as a special blood testing day event, which we periodically provide throughout the year, this is a paid-for service with your results in 24 hours. It should be noted with this type of test, you may be asked not to eat anything for up to 12 hours before your actual test, although this is not always necessary.

Whatever test you decide to take, if you have high cholesterol, our pharmacist will discuss how you can lower it, this may include changing your diet, taking more exercise, or referring you to your doctor if statins, a common medicine for high cholesterol seem necessary.



About Your Cholesterol Test Results

Your cholesterol test will provide you with a series of numbers and measures that can cover your total cholesterol, which is a figure that includes your good cholesterol (HDL), which makes you less likely to have heart problems or a stroke, and your bad cholesterol (LDL or non-HDL cholesterol) that increases your risk of heart problems and strokes. A cholesterol test also provides information about your triglycerides, which are fatty substances like bad cholesterol, and finally, your total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio (TC: HDL), which is the level of good cholesterol in your blood compared to your overall cholesterol level. Below is a guide regarding what your cholesterol levels should be, although if you have any pre-existing health conditions that adversely affect your cholesterol levels the numbers you may have to aim for, may be different and are usually advised by your general practitioner.


Result Healthy Level
Total Cholesterol 5 or below
HDL Cholesterol (good cholesterol) 1 or above
Non-HDL Cholesterol (bad cholesterol) 4 or below
Fasting Triglycerides
(not eating before the test)
1.7 or below
Non-Fasting Triglycerides
(eating before the test)
2.3 or below
Total Cholesterol to
HDL Cholesterol Ratio
6 or below


Whatever your results, you can be sure that our pharmacist will discuss with you, your results and what you can do to improve your cholesterol levels, if they require such action. For example, watching what you eat, exercising more, stopping smoking, and cutting down on alcohol. For more information about lowering your cholesterol, please click here.



Familial Hypercholesterolaemia

Familial hypercholesterolaemia is an inherited condition, passed down through the genes in families, which can cause unusually high cholesterol levels. Without treatment, FH can lead to heart disease at an early age, although once it has been diagnosed, it is easily treated with a healthy lifestyle and medication. For more information about familial hypercholesterolaemia, please see the Heart UK website here.




How to Lower Your Cholesterol

Eat less fatty food to reduce your cholesterol, and cut down on fatty foods that contain saturated fat. Eat foods that contain a healthier type of fat called unsaturated fat, and do not forget to check your food labels when you shop to see what type of fat your food contains.


Try to eat more: Oily fish, such as mackerel or salmon, brown rice, bread, pasta, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.

Try to eat less: Meat pies, sausages, fatty meat, butter, lard or ghee, cream, hard cheese such as cheddar, cakes, biscuits, and foods that contain coconut or palm milk.


Exercise more: Aim to do at least 2.5 hours of exercise per week. Start out slowly, go for a walk and try to walk fast enough that your heart starts to beat faster. Alternatively, go for a swim or a bicycle ride. Explore different types of exercise so you can find something you enjoy, as you are more likely to keep doing it if you take pleasure from it.


Stop smoking: Smoking can raise your cholesterol levels and make you more likely to have serious problems like heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. If you would like to stop smoking, you can get help and support from us at P&S Chemist, through our Stop Smoking Serviceyour general practitioner, or the NHS Stop Smoking Service if you live in England, your doctor can refer you, or you can call the helpline on 0300 123 1044, for useful advice and tips to help you stop.


Cut down on alcohol: Spread your drinking out throughout the week, ensuring you have several drink-free days each week. Avoid drinking more than 14 units of alcohol each week and you should also avoid binge drinking (drinking lots of alcohol in a short time). If you are struggling to cut down your alcohol consumption, please speak to our pharmacist or your doctor.

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Page last reviewed: 18/10/2022
Next review date: 18/10/2024