Alternate Names : Low-density lipoprotein test
LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. It's also sometimes called "bad" cholesterol. Lipoproteins are made of fat and protein. They carry cholesterol, triglycerides, and other fats, called lipids, in the blood to various parts of the body.
This article discusses the blood test to measure the level of LDL cholesterol in your blood. Too much LDL in the blood can clog arteries.
Why is the Test Performed?
This test is usually done to determine your risk for heart disease. The LDL test is usually done as part of a lipid analysis, which also checks total cholesterol, HDL, and triglyceridelevels.
LDL carries cholesterol to various tissues throughout the body. Too much LDL, commonly called "bad cholesterol," can lead to cardiovascular disease.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the lower your LDL, the lower your risk for heart disease or stroke.
How is the Test Performed?
Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood.
Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm.
Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding.
In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding.
How to Prepare for the Test?
You may be told not to eat or drink anything for 9 - 12 hours before the test.
The health care provider may tell you to stop taking certain drugs before the procedure.
How will the Test Feel?
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, you may feel moderate pain, or only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
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