Screening Tests for Young Adults

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Not everyone in this age group may need screening for every condition listed here. Click on the links above to read more about each condition and to determine if screening may be appropriate for you or your family member. You should discuss screening options with your health care practitioner.

High cholesterol

Under 20 years old:
Population Screening for hypercholesterolaemia in children is currently not recommended in the UK. Case Finding by Family Tracing is an effective strategy for identifying most children with familial hypercholesterolaemia. Screening should be based on:

  • a family history of familial hypercholesterolaemia or
  • premature cardiovascular disease (before 55 years in men, before 60 years in women)

Children should be tested before the age of 10 years but usually not before the age of two years. The age chosen should take into account the onset of CAD within the family and the wishes of the parents.
BLOOD SAMPLES. Non-fasting capillary or venous samples can be used for screening measurement of total cholesterol. If the concentration is above 5.5mmol/l, which is the 95th centile in childhood, a fasting venous blood sample should be taken for measurement of total and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglyceride. The low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol can then be calculated.  

20 years and older:
Widespread population screening is not currently recommended in the UK. The Joint UK Guidelines recommend targeting those most at risk, ie those most likely to benefit from intervention. This is determined by the presence of known risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity/overweight, a family history of early heart disease, high blood cholesterol (high total and high LDL), or low HDL cholesterol.
Assessment is best done by a Lipid profile, a blood test conducted after a 9- to 12-hour fast, which determines your total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.