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Should you get your cholesterol checked?

Nathan Moore - Sunday, June 03, 2012

We see many patients every day who come in for a physical exam, a general check-up to make sure everything is okay.  Frequently patients want to have routine blood work done to check for a variety of problems including liver, kidney, electrolytes, cell counts, and of course, cholesterol.  Who really needs to be screened for these things?  Should we screen everyone at every age?  Every year?  Below are the basic recommendations for cholesterol screening.


Based on recommendations from the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) is defined as the presence of any one of the following risk factors: diabetes; a personal history of CHD or non-coronary atherosclerosis; a family history of cardiovascular disease before 50 years of age in male relatives or before 60 years of age in female relatives; tobacco use; hypertension; and obesity (BMI greater than or equal to 30 kg per m2). 

Decisions to screen for lipid disorders should be based on the patient's age and sex, and the presence of CHD risk factors.  Women older than 20 years who are at risk of CHD are likely to benefit from screening. The optimal interval for lipid screening is uncertain. The USPSTF recommends that all men 35 years and older receive screening for lipid disorders. However, in men 20 to 35 years of age and women 20 years and older who are not at risk of CHD, the benefits and harms of screening are closely balanced. Consequently, the USPSTF makes no recommendation for or against routine lipid screening in these groups. 

According to the USPSTF recommendation, the preferred screening tests for dyslipidemia are total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol levels from fasting or nonfasting samples. There is insufficient evidence of the benefit of including triglycerides. Abnormal screening test results should be confirmed by a repeat sample on a separate occasion, and the average of the two results should be used for risk assessment. Treatment decisions should take into account a person's overall risk of heart disease rather than lipid levels alone.

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SEVEN front range locations

Urgent Care Clinic and Family Medicine in Aurora, CO

13650 E Mississippi Avenue
Aurora, CO 80012

Phone: 303-695-8684 (Family Practice)
303-695-1338 (Urgent Care)
303-872-1980 (Specialty Services)
Fax: 303-597-0191 (Family Practice)
303-695-8814 (Urgent Care)
303-695-5013 (Specialty Services)

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Urgent Care Clinic and Family Medicine in Boulder, CO

4800 Baseline Rd. Suite D106
Boulder, CO 80303

Phone: 303-499-0176 (Family Practice)
303-499-4800 (Urgent Care)
303-872-1980 (Specialty Services)
Fax: 303-499-4892

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Urgent Care Clinic and Family Medicine in Centennial-Smoky Hill, CO

20270 E Smoky Hill Rd
Centennial, CO 80015

Phone: 303-693-2000 (Family Practice & Urgent Care)
303-872-1980 (Psychology)
Fax: 303-693-2043

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Urgent Care Clinic and Family Medicine in Commerce City, CO

18240 E. 104 Ave, Suite 205
Commerce City, CO 80022

Phone: 303-286-0027
Fax: 303-286-0256

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Urgent Care Clinic and Family Medicine in Englewood, CO

730 W Hampden Ave, Suite 200
Englewood, CO 80110

Phone: 720-974-7464
Fax: 720-974-7467

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Urgent Care Clinic and Family Medicine in Lakewood, CO

605 Parfet St, Suite 103
Lakewood, CO 80215

Phone: 303-986-9583 (Family Practice)
303-986-9610 (Urgent Care)
303-872-1980 (Psychology)
Fax: 303-986-2901

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Urgent Care Clinic and Family Medicine in Westminster, CO

6080 W. 92nd Avenue
Westminster, CO 80031

Phone: 303-427-0796 (Family Practice)
303-429-9311 (Urgent Care)
303-872-1980 (Specialty Services)
Fax: 303-429-9399

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