A cholesterol test, also called a lipid profile, is a simple blood test that measures more than just the total amount of cholesterol in your blood. The table below shows what is measured:

Items measured in a cholesterol test

What is measured Also known as Description
LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol LDL-C LDL-C cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol that clogs your arteries and increases the risk of developing heart disease.
HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol HDL-C HDL-C cholesterol is the "good" cholesterol that clears LDL-C cholesterol out of your arteries.
TG (triglycerides) TG are a non-cholesterol type of fat. TG increase the risk of developing heart disease. TG can also lower the levels of HDL cholesterol.
TC (total cholesterol) TC is a measure of the total amount of LDL-C cholesterol, HDL-C cholesterol, and VLDL cholesterol.
Total cholesterol/ HDL-C ratio TC:HDL-C ratio This is the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-C cholesterol. It is a number calculated by dividing the total cholesterol by HDL-C cholesterol (TC ÷ HDL-C).

For more information on LDL-C, HDL-C, TG, and TC, see "Good" and "bad" cholesterol... what does it all mean?

Ask your doctor whether you should have your cholesterol tested.