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Cholesterol tells you about the health of your blood vessels

The total cholesterol measurement shows the total cholesterol value in the blood.


  • Human body produces cholesterol on its own but it is also obtained through food. 
  • There are both good and bad types of cholesterol, and at normal levels cholesterol is essential for our body. 
  • Elevated cholesterol levels increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. 
  • Blood tests identify elevated cholesterol levels, enabling appropriate treatment. 

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found naturally in every cell of the body. The human body produces cholesterol on its own but it is also obtained through food. 

The body is not able to break down cholesterol. It is removed from the body by the liver secreting cholesterol into the bile, either as such or converted into bile acids. Some of the cholesterol is removed from the body in the stool and some is absorbed from the intestine back into the bloodstream. 

There are both good and bad types of cholesterol, and at normal levels cholesterol is essential for our body. 

Elevated cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. 

What does total cholesterol mean?

The cholesterol measurement shows the total cholesterol value in the blood.

There are both good and bad types of cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is the primary measure of “bad” cholesterol and HDL cholesterol is the primary measure of “good” cholesterol.

The triglyceride test measures the amount of fats circulating in the blood. Calories that the body does not consume immediately are stored in fat tissue as triglycerides.

Cholesterol is not water-soluble, so it cannot be transported in the bloodstream as such. Cholesterol must become water-soluble, at which point it gets enclosed within transport proteins called lipoproteins and is then carried throughout the body in the bloodstream.

Lipoproteins contain four components: cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids, and protein.

Total cholesterol is divided into categories that differ in their function, size, density, and composition.

High cholesterol levels 

The most common cause of high cholesterol (LDL) is a diet excessively rich in saturated fats. Avoiding hard fats, exercising and avoiding excess weight can affect the quantity and quality of total cholesterol in the body. Opt for soft vegetary fats. 

If there is excess LDL cholesterol in the body, it can build up in the arterial walls and lead to a blood clot in coronary or brain arteries. Therefore, it is important to take elevated cholesterol seriously and start monitoring your cholesterol levels regularly. 

What are the risk factors for high cholesterol? 

Elevated cholesterol is also associated with factors beyond our control. These include age, gender and genetic predisposition. 

Elevated cholesterol can also be caused by other factors 

Cholesterol can also be elevated in the following situations: 

In addition, smoking reduces the amount of HDL cholesterol. Quitting smoking is always a good idea. 

Symptoms of high cholesterol 

High cholesterol is a major risk factor for other more serious diseases but does not in itself usually cause any symptoms. Therefore, high cholesterol cannot be felt or discovered except by measuring the values with laboratory tests. 

Regular blood tests will help to identify elevated cholesterol, enabling appropriate treatment. 

How can high cholesterol be treated? 

Elevated cholesterol is often related to a person’s lifestyle, which is why lowering it begins with changes in diet and daily habits. 

The harmfulness of cholesterol depends on simultaneous factors that damage blood vessels, such as smoking, high blood pressure, and lack of physical activity. 

If a healthy person does not have other risk factors, such as hereditary diseases, and their cholesterol levels remain at the recommended level, the primary solution is to lower cholesterol through diet and lifestyle changes. 

If a person’s risk of arterial disease is clearly increased, it is even more important to lower their cholesterol levels. This applies to diabetics or asymptomatic individuals who, according to the risk calculator, have a 10% chance of developing coronary artery disease or having a stroke within the next 10 years. Medication is considered to support self-treatment. 

The risk is highest in a person who have already been diagnosed with an arterial disease or additional disorders related to diabetes or whose result in the risk calculator is more than 15%. In that case, it is important to lower the person’s cholesterol levels with medication. 

Treatment of high cholesterol with dietary choices 

Diet affects blood cholesterol levels, especially LDL cholesterol. The tips below can help you prevent and treat elevated cholesterol. 

Remember to pay attention to the quality and quantity of dietary fats. The quality of fats obtained from food is good when it mostly consists of soft vegetary fats. 

Get started with small steps: replacing products high in hard fats with products high in soft vegetable fats, and making sure that your meals consist of diverse, colourful and fiber-rich foods.  

Common sources of hard fats include: 

The amount of hard fats can be reduced by switching from animal fats to soft vegetable fats. 

Vegetable oils, such as olive oil and rapeseed oil, are great sources of soft fats. 

Tips to help you reduce the amount of hard fats and increase the amount of soft fats in your diet: 

Treatment of high cholesterol with medication 

Medication is considered if diet and lifestyle changes do not reduce cholesterol levels sufficiently. 

In addition to cholesterol levels, the decision to start medication is affected by: 

What is FH? 

FH, or familial hypercholesterolemia, is a cholesterol-increasing disease caused by a gene mutation. The disease is predominantly inherited, meaning that 50% of the children of those suffering from FH will also have the disease. 

In FH, the cholesterol value is often more than 10 mmol/L, but the value can also be lower. With FH, diet and lifestyle do not affect the cholesterol level. The disease is treated with medication. If left untreated, the disease can lead to early-onset coronary heart disease. 

How can I get my cholesterol tested?

The amount and quality of cholesterol can be measured with blood tests. In the measurement of total cholesterol, the blood cholesterol level is examined.

The measurement of cholesterol (lipids or fat values) can consist of various components, common values that are analyzed include:

Check out the Vital´s laboratory packages, which include cholesterol measurement.

The cholesterol measurement is included in the following test packages:

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All tests

You can add individual tests to the pre-made laboratory packages or design your own set of tests.



This page contains the most frequently asked questions and answers.

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