Ever had your cholesterol tested? Want to know why you should know these important health numbers?

Cholesterol is an essential substance found naturally in the human body and also ingested through food.  This waxy, fatty building block allows your body to create hormones, vitamin D, and other digestive acids that are necessary for a healthy body.

Cholesterol by itself is not a bad thing — it’s an excess that creates problems, clogs arteries, and can eventually lead to coronary heart disease.

Cholesterol has two common components, HDL (high density lipoproteins) and LDL (low density lipoproteins).  Typically, LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterol, while HDL is considered a “good” cholesterol.

Healthy levels of both HDL and LDL can be achieved through healthy diet and regular exercise.  However, some people are susceptible to varying levels despite healthy living practices.  The only way to know your levels is to get tested.

“At these screenings you will receive valuable information about how to prevent heart disease and have an interactive discussion with a registered nurse,” said Cheri Nichols, RN for the Health District of Northern Larimer County.

Testing for healthy levels of cholesterol should begin as early as the low 20s in most adults.  A test typically entails blood testing of some kind, which could be a finger stick or a vial or two taken for laboratory testing.

Testing involves a non-intrusive finger stick.

“It’s a 20-minute appointment, and you will have your blood pressure checked and learn the results of your cholesterol panel, blood glucose– all from a tiny sample of blood from a finger stick,” Nichols said.

Most accurate results are achieved when the person being tested has fasted (refrained from eating or drinking anything but water) for about 12 hours prior to blood testing — although it is not entirely necessary to fast before the test.

Appointments can be scheduled by calling The Health District at (970) 224-5209.