At a Glance
Why Get Tested?
To find out the risk of developing heart disease
When to Get Tested?
A blood sample taken from a vein in the arm or from a finger-prick
The Test Sample
What is being tested?
HDL is one of the classes of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in the blood. HDL is thought to be beneficial because it removes excess cholesterol from tissues and carries it to the liver for disposal. Hence HDL cholesterol is often called “good” cholesterol. The test for HDL measures the amount of HDL-cholesterol in blood.
How is the sample collected for testing?
The test for HDL-cholesterol uses a blood sample. Most often the blood sample is collected from a vein. Sometimes HDL-cholesterol is measured using a drop of blood collected by puncturing the skin on a finger. A finger-prick sample is typically used when HDL-cholesterol is being measured on a portable testing device. Since this test is usually performed as part of a full lipid profile, fasting for 12 hours may be required.
NOTE: If undergoing medical tests makes you or someone you care for anxious, embarrassed, or even difficult to manage, you might consider reading one or more of the following articles: Coping with Test Pain, Discomfort, and Anxiety, Tips on Blood Testing, Tips to Help Children through Their Medical Tests, and Tips to Help the Elderly through Their Medical Tests.
Another article, Follow That Sample, provides a glimpse at the collection and processing of a blood sample and throat culture.
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NOTE: This article is based on research that utilizes the sources cited here as well as the collective experience of the Lab Tests Online Editorial Review Board. This article is periodically reviewed by the Editorial Board and may be updated as a result of the review. Any new sources cited will be added to the list and distinguished from the original sources used.