How to Interpret Your Health Screening Results

*The following information can give you some insight and some explanation of your health screenings. This information is NOT to be used to replace a consultation with a physician, regardless if the results fall in the "normal" range. We caution you against self-diagnosis.*

Your Blood Cholesterol Level: What it Means to Your Heart
Heart disease is the number one killer in this country. One in every four adults is at substantially higher risk for having a heart attack. A study conducted over the last 30 years has shown that high cholesterol levels in the blood are related to deaths by heart disease. The study suggests that having a low cholesterol level in the blood prolongs life.

Cholesterol is produced in the body and comes from the diet. The body produces cholesterol as the starting ingredient to make Vitamin D, the sex hormones, and bile. It is bile that helps digest the food we eat. Cholesterol in the diet is found in animal products such as meat, egg yolks, shellfish, and whole-fat dairy products. The quantity of cholesterol that is absorbed into the blood from the food is influenced by (1) how much cholesterol is present and (2) how much triglycerides (or fats) are present.

Fats in food from animal sources are usually solid at room temperature and are termed "saturated" fats. Most plant fats are liquid at room temperature and are termed "unsaturated" fats. The higher the amount of fat in the diet, the more cholesterol and fat will be absorbed into the blood.

Cholesterol in the blood is deposited in the blood vessels and causes hardening of the arteries. In time, blockage of the vessels can occur. When a blockage occurs in a blood vessel of the heart, a heart attack can develop.

To help prevent heart disease, we must decrease the dietary intake of total fat, particularly saturated fats and cholesterol. The diet is only one factor that plays a role in the management of high blood cholesterol. Weight control and exercise also are able to contribute to lowering blood cholesterol.

Those individuals who are identified as having high cholesterol and triglyceride levels ultimately must re-evaluate their lifestyle and seek professional advice and follow up.


If Your Total Cholesterol Level Is...
Less than 200
200-239
240 or higher
"Desirable"
"Borderline High"
"High"

Congratulations! A desirable cholesterol level is one of the keys to a healthy heart. Your goal is to maintain your cholesterol at this level by continuing your lifestyle (eating habits and exercise routines) as is.

Because you may be at rish for heart disease, have a follow-up test to confirm results. Begin to lower your cholesterol to "desirable" by making changes in your lifestyle (eating habits and exercise routines).

Because you're at increased risk for heart disease, see your family doctor right away for a test that includes total HDL and LDL levels. Begin to lower your cholesterol by making changes in your lifestyle (eating habits and exercise routines).

Blood tests are known to fluctuate from day to day. This fluctuation is a result of changes within an individual and from laboratory variation. As a result of this fluctuation, a test may be abnormal at one time and not at another. However, they are usually consistent. Unusual results should be discussed with your physician.

Tests From Your Chemistry Profile Include:

Glucose

This is a test for diabetes. Elevated values are seen in diabetes and may be altered by diet and medication. Glucose is very sensitive to food intake, and a mildly elevated value may mean a carbohydrate intolerance which could lead to diabetes in the future, or it may merely mean that you did not fast and had sugar and cream in your coffee.

Cholesterol

This is blood fat shown to be associated with an increased probability of heart disease in some people. It is, in part, related to the eating of animal fats such as eggs, cheese, cream, liver, pork, beef fat and saturated fats such as coconut and palm oils. Increased values may indicate a tendancy to hardening of the arteries. A value of 200 or less is associated with the least risk of heart attack.

Triglycerides:

This is another of the blood fats and is also thought to be associated with an increased probability of heart disease. Triglycerides are a blood fat related more to total calories and to starches, especially sweets in the diet, rather than fat. Alcohol consumption may also increase this value. High levels also can lead to hardening of the arteries. A high level may be elevated due to eating within 12 hours of specimen drawing.

HDL

High Density Lipoprotein is the "good" part of the cholesterol. The results should be within the reference range or higher.

LDL

Low Density Lipoprotein is one of the parts of the cholesterol that should be watched to keep it within the reference range or lower.

VLDL

Very Low Density Lipoprotein is another of the parts of the cholesterol that should be watched to keep it within reference ranger or lower.

BUN

This is a waste product removed from the blood by the kidneys. BUN may be elevated in severe dehydration and is typically reduced in pregnancy.

Creatinine

This is another waste product which is removed from the blood by the kidneys.

Sodium

This is a mineral. Kidney disease, certain diseases of the adrenal gland and dehydration can cause abnormal values.

Potassium

This is a mineral found moustly in body cells. The breakdown of blood cells in handling can increase this value. Water pills will frequently lower the value, while kidney damage increases it.

Chloride

This is a chemical found in the blood that works with sodium to maintain blood pressure. It also functions with CO2 to maintain acid-base balance.

Alkalinephosphatase

Elevations in this value are indicative of possible liver or bone disorders. Values are normally elevated in adolescence when bones are still actively growing.

Total Protein

This is the combination of albumin and globulin, two blood proteins. Abnormal values occur commonly with liver disease, kidney disease, and/or a poor diet.

Albumin

This is a blood protein manufactured by the liver. Marked changes in this value may be related to liver disease and kidney disease or inadequate nutrition.

A/G Ration

Should always be more than 1.0. If less than 1.0, may be indicative of liver disease or poor nutrition and should be discussed with your physician. The value requires medical interpretation.

CO2

This represents bicarbonate levels in the blood. Bicarbonate and chloride work together to maintain acid-base balance in the blood.

Anion Gap

This is a calculation of the difference between the sodium plus potassium levels and the choloride plus CO2 levels. The result gives the physician information concerning acid-base balance in the body.

AST/SGOT This test may indicate possible liver disease, muscle bruising, disease, or possible recent vigorous exercise. This should be re-checked by your physician if elevated.

Bilirubin

This is a bile pigment formed mainly as the result of the destruction of old cells. This substance is elevated in liver disease.