Chapter 10 – Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke

What’s Your Number?

Lipoprotein Profile

What: A blood test that measures total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, HDL “good” cholesterol, and triglycerides (another form of fat in the blood). The test is given after a 9- to 12-hour fast.

Why: To find out if you have any of the following: high blood cholesterol (high total and LDL cholesterol), low HDL cholesterol, or high triglyceride levels. All affect your risk for heart disease.

When: All healthy adults should have a lipoprotein profile done at least once every 5 years. Depending on the results, your doctor may want to repeat the test more frequently.

Blood Pressure

What: A simple, painless test using an inflatable arm cuff.

Why: To find out if you have high blood pressure (also called hyper- tension) or prehypertension. Both are risk factors for heart disease.

When: At least every 2 years, or more often if you have high blood pressure or prehypertension.

BP Classification Systolic Blood Pressure
Diastolic Blood Pressure
Normal <120 <80
Pre-hypertension 120-139 80-89
Stage 1 Hypertension 140-159 90-99
Stage 2 Hypertension ≥160 ≥100
Stage 3 Hypertension ≥180 ≥110

Source: Sixth and Seventh Reports of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (USA).

Fasting Plasma Glucose

What: The preferred test for diagnosing diabetes. After you have fasted overnight, you will be given a blood test the following morning.

Why: To find out if you have diabetes or are likely to develop the disease. Fasting plasma glucose levels of 126 mg/dL or higher in two tests on different days mean that you have diabetes. Levels between 100 and 125 mg/dL mean that you have an increased risk of developing diabetes and may have prediabetes. Diabetes is an important risk factor for heart disease and other medical disorders.

When: At least every 3 years, beginning at age 45. If you have risk factors for diabetes, you should be tested at a younger age and more often.


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Health and Fitness for Life Copyright © 2019 by Dawn Markell and Diane Peterson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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