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Cholesterol testing is often used as part of a cardiac risk assessment. Too much cholesterol in the blood can damage arteries and blood vessels and elevate the risk for stroke, heart attack, and heart disease. Total cholesterol may be measured as part of cholesterol screening, which is looking for signs of risks to cardiovascular health in people who have not shown any symptoms. When used for screening, total cholesterol is typically one component of the lipid panel, which also determines levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or good) cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides.
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