NHS Health Check

Helping you prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and dementia

Your cholesterol test

Cholesterol is a fat (or lipid) that is carried around our body in the blood. It is mainly made by the liver but can also be found in some foods we eat.

At an NHS Health Check, your cholesterol will be tested to see whether it is too high. Your health professional will take a sample of blood from you by using a needle and syringe, or by pricking your finger.

Afterwards, your healthcare professional may discuss your cholesterol result. If necessary, you'll be offered advice and support to help you achieve a healthy level of cholesterol.

Why your cholesterol level matters

It is vital that we have enough cholesterol if our bodies are to work properly. But too much cholesterol can cause our arteries to become blocked, which increases our risk of heart disease and stroke.

Evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol can increase the risk of vascular diseases, including:

This is because cholesterol can build up in the artery wall, restricting the flow of blood to your heart, brain and the rest of your body. It also increases the chance of a blood clot developing somewhere.

Your risk of coronary heart disease (when your heart's blood supply is blocked or disrupted) also rises as your blood's cholesterol level increases and this can cause angina during physical activity.

High cholesterol itself doesn't cause any symptoms. This means that you could have high cholesterol and not know about it.

The only way to know your cholesterol level is to have it tested.

Your cholesterol

If you've already had your cholesterol test, learn more in Your cholesterol result.

Page last reviewed: 15/05/2013

Next review due: 15/05/2015


The 1 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Nick Shepherd said on 08 November 2013

This page doesn't say whether this is a fasting test; it would be helpful if it told us

Nick Shepherd

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