Cholesterol test

Also known as a lipid profile, a cholesterol test is a simple blood test to measure your cholesterol, assess your risk of heart disease and monitor other conditions. 

Enquiries & Appointments

Collecting blood sample 1720228532.jpg

If you want to check your cholesterol levels, we can confirm your appointment within 24 hours through our high-quality private network. 

  • Receive test results within 48 hours, interpreted by leading experts
  • #1 for private cardiac care, seeing over 25,000 people each year
  • 99% of cardiac patients would recommend us to friends and family

Signs you may need a cholesterol test

Usually, there are no symptoms of having high cholesterol. The only way to find out is by having a cholesterol check. You are more likely to have high cholesterol if you:

  • Are over 40 years of age
  • Are overweight
  • Have a history of heart conditions in your family
  • Suffer from high blood pressure or other conditions such as diabetes

You may also have a history of high cholesterol in your family. This is known as familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH). If you have FH, there may be some visible symptoms such as:

  • A pale white ring around your iris (the coloured part of your eye).
  • Small, yellow lumps in the corner of your eye, closest to your nose.
  • Swellings on your knuckles, your knees or your Achilles tendon.

If any of the above apply to you, or even if they don't, you may wish to have a cholesterol blood test for peace of mind. We can offer private tests with one of our specialist nurses or phlebotomists (medical professionals who are trained to take blood samples) as well as private GP appointments. We will confirm your appointment within 24 hours of you contacting us and have your results ready within 48 hours.

Request an appointment to have a private cholesterol test.

Why choose HCA UK

Manage your cholesterol with the UK’s leading private provider

  • #1 for private cardiac care: More people trust us for cardiac care than any other private provider - over 25,000 each year - with 99% recommending us to their friends and family. 
  • Expert consultants: Your cholesterol blood test will be discussed, carried out and followed up on by a specialist nurse or phlebotomist, ensuring accurate results and the best possible care. 
  • Fast access: We'll confirm your appointment within 24 hours of contact and have your test results back within two days. If needed, we’ll swiftly provide personalised advice for lowering your cholesterol.
  • Industry-leading facilities: Our leading private hospitals, clinics and diagnostic centres ensure you'll have access to the very best medical professionals, technologies and treatments.

What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance in your blood. If your levels are too high, it can block your arteries and can lead to heart complications, strokes and other health problems. A cholesterol profile test will identify the makeup of the cholesterol in your system. This will consist of:

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: This is known as "bad" cholesterol and is what causes the build-up of fat in your vessels, reducing the flow of blood around the body.
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: This is known as "good" cholesterol because it helps remove LDL cholesterol and improves the flow of blood.
  • Triglycerides: A type of fat in the blood that can build up when your body converts the calories it doesn't need. These excess calories can come from having a poor diet, drinking too much, smoking and not exercising.
  • Total cholesterol: Your LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides combined.

<Healthy vs high cholesterol diagram>

Depending on your condition, medical history and test results, you may be recommended further tests to help understand your risk, such as:

  • Lipoprotein (a): An LDL variant that’s stickier than others, increasing the risk of blockages and blood clots.  
  • Apolipoprotein B: A substance that carries LDL in your blood.  
  • Familial hyperlipidaemia DNA genetic testing: Checking for a genetic condition that means your liver can’t process cholesterol properly. 
  • Very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: A type of LDL that contains more triglycerides than regular LDL. In excess, both can cause build-ups in your arteries.  

When you book a test with us, your consultant will explain these factors in detail to help you understand your cholesterol profile. 

What causes high cholesterol?

Having high cholesterol means there is a build-up of fat in your blood vessels. Some of these factors can be controlled and others can't. For example, high cholesterol could be caused by:

  • Age. Those over 40 are likely to have higher cholesterol levels
  • Gender. Men are more likely to have high cholesterol
  • Ethnicity. Those from a south Asian background are more likely to have higher cholesterol
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating fatty foods
  • A lack of exercise

There may also be other risk factors that can make you more likely to have high cholesterol. For example, you may want to book a cholesterol blood test if you have:

  • A family history of high cholesterol or other heart conditions
  • Diabetes with elevated blood sugar levels
  • Problems with your kidney or liver. Part of these organs' functions include producing, handling and clearing cholesterol.

If you have worries or questions about these factors, our specialists can help you understand and manage your risk effectively, if necessary. 

What can happen if you have high cholesterol?

If your blood vessels become blocked, it can increase your risk of a stroke, heart attack and other forms of heart disease. When these happen, they can be life-altering and sometimes life-threatening.

When you get a private cholesterol test with HCA, you'll have your results within 48 hours. If you do have high cholesterol, our cardiac specialists will offer expert treatment and advice to help you lower your levels and reduce the risk of suffering complications in the future.

What happens during a cholesterol check?

A cholesterol test involves analysing a small sample of blood. This is usually taken from a vein in your arm but can sometimes be done from a tiny pinprick in your finger.

Your cholesterol check may also be a part of a more comprehensive blood test. Collecting the blood sample should only take a few minutes and your nurse or phlebotomist will explain the procedure to you.

If you're concerned about fainting or have worries about needles, you may be able to have a blood sample taken while you're lying down. If the procedure has made you feel light-headed, you'll be invited to remain in the department until you feel fully recovered.

Man with1176848346.jpg

Get rapid access to a private cholesterol test near you

If you're worried about having high cholesterol or simply want to get checked out, we can provide private cholesterol tests at our leading hospitals and clinics across the UK. We treat more than 25,000 cardiac patients every year and will confirm your appointment within 24 hours of first contact. Once you’ve had your cholesterol check, we'll send your results inside 48 hours.

FAQs about cholesterol checks

Your doctor or nurse will explain the test to you and answer any questions you may have. You should let them know if you are taking any blood-thinning medication or if you have a condition that makes you more likely to bruise or bleed.

They will let you know if there is anything specific you need to do to prepare. This may include fasting or avoiding certain foods or medications before your cholesterol test. Having a blood sample is a common and safe procedure but it's normal to feel a little anxious. You're welcome to bring a friend or relative with you to your appointment.

You may have some discomfort, redness or bruising in your arm or fingertip after your test, but this shouldn't last long. Your test results will usually be available within a couple of days and your consultant will explain how to understand the different types of cholesterol measured. Depending on your results, your doctor might recommend diet, medication or lifestyle changes to help lower your cholesterol.
A cholesterol profile test is a simple procedure and one that we carry out thousands of times each year. You may have some soreness around your arm or finger where the blood was drawn but this will soon disappear. It's also possible for the area where the blood is taken to become infected but this is extremely rare. If you do have any concerns, your expert nurse or phlebotomist will be able to put your mind at rest.

Your cholesterol is measured in millimoles per litre (mmol/L). Each person is different and so is the level of risk to that individual, but here is a guide as to what is typically classed as a normal, healthy cholesterol level:

  • Total cholesterol: 5mmol/L or under
  • LDL cholesterol: 4mmol/L or under
  • HDL cholesterol: 1mmol/L or above
  • Non-fasting triglycerides: 2.3mmol/L or under
  • Fasting triglycerides: 1.7mmol/L or under
  • Ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol: 6mmol/L or under

Fasting triglycerides are where you've been asked not to eat for a few hours before your test. Non-fasting triglycerides are where you've eaten as normal. When you get the results back from your private cholesterol test, your consultant will explain what they mean and recommend the suitable and most effective treatment, should any be needed.

There are some factors associated with higher cholesterol that you can't control – such as your age, ethnicity and your gender at birth. But there are plenty of things that you can do to help lower your levels if they are above normal. These include:

  • Eating less fatty food such as butter, pies, sausages, hard cheese, cakes and biscuits
  • Eating more foods like oily fish, wholegrain pasta, brown rice, fruit and vegetables
  • Getting two to three hours' exercise per week – for example, walking, jogging, cycling or swimming
  • Giving up smoking
  • Drinking less alcohol, including cutting out binge-drinking

Yes. If your cholesterol check shows that you have high levels that could put you at risk of heart disease or a stroke, your consultant may recommend medication. The most common are statins, which are tablets you take once a day to limit the amount of cholesterol your body produces. In most cases, you will need to take statins for the rest of your life.

If statins do not work or you do not wish to take them for whatever reason, there are other tablets you can take such as fibrates, resins and ezetimibe. There are also injections called alirocumab, evolocumab and inclisiran. If appropriate, your HCA consultant will discuss the most relevant options for you so you can make an informed decision. 

Find a consultant

Experts in cholesterol profile tests

We have hundreds of nurses, phlebotomists, general practitioners and cardiologists across our network. From your initial cholesterol check to delivering your results and providing effective care as needed, you'll be in safe hands.

Womens Health-1095916826.jpg

Paying for your private cholesterol test

You have a few options when it comes to paying for your private cholesterol blood test. 

If you have medical insurance, it's worth speaking to your provider to see if you are covered. As the leader in private cardiac care, you can mention HCA UK as your preferred provider, along with your preferred consultant if you have one. 

Alternatively, you may be corporate or government-sponsored, or you can self-fund the cost of your tests and any subsequent treatment.

Our Cholesterol test locations

The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London
London Bridge Hospital

London Bridge Hospital

27 Tooley Street SE1 2PR London
The Wellington Hospital

The Wellington Hospital

8A Wellington Place NW8 9LE London
How to book an appointment

Book your private cholesterol test

If you're worried that you may have high cholesterol or you simply want to get checked out, we can confirm your appointment within 24 hours. After your cholesterol check, we'll be able to share your results within two days.