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Blood tests

A blood test is when a sample of blood is taken for testing in a laboratory. Blood tests have a wide range of uses and are one of the most common types of medical test. For example, a blood test can be used to:

  • assess your general state of health
  • confirm the presence of a bacterial or viral infection
  • see how well certain organs, such as the liver and kidneys, are functioning

A blood test usually involves the phlebotomist taking a blood sample from a blood vessel in your arm. and the usual place for a sample is the inside of the elbow or wrist, where the veins are relatively close to the surface. Blood samples from children are most commonly taken from the back of the hand. The child’s hand will be anaesthetised (numbed) with a special cream before the sample is taken.

You can find out more about blood tests, their purpose and the way they are performed on the NHS website here.

Cholesterol levels

Your total cholesterol should normally be <4.0, and your ‘bad’ Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol should normally be <2.0.

We know that high cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is an umbrella term used to describe diseases that affect the heart, the blood vessels or both i.e. heart attack, angina, and stroke. We know that by lowering your total cholesterol, especially focussing on lowering your ‘bad’ cholesterol known as LDL, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. This can be achieved by changes to your diet and increased exercise.

The leaflet below has some information about the different types of cholesterol and some advice on how to modify your diet to help reduce your ‘bad’ cholesterol.

BHF Reducing your Blood Cholesterol Leaflet