At a Glance
Why Get Tested?
To determine risk of developing heart disease
When to Get Tested?
A blood sample taken from a vein in the arm or from a fingerstick
The Test Sample
What is being tested?
LDL is a type of lipoprotein that carries cholesterol in the blood. LDL is considered to be undesirable because it deposits excess cholesterol in the walls of blood vessels and contributes to 'hardening of the arteries' and heart disease. Hence LDL cholesterol is often termed 'bad' cholesterol. The test for LDL measures the amount of LDL cholesterol in blood.
How is the sample collected for testing?
The test for LDL cholesterol uses a blood sample. Most often, the blood sample is collected by venipuncture (using a needle to collect blood from a vein in the arm).
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.
Ask a Laboratory Scientist
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.