LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein, a type of cholesterol found in your body. LDL is often referred to as bad cholesterol. This is because too much LDL results in a build-up of cholesterol in your arteries, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Your doctor may also order an LDL test if you are already being treated for high cholesterol. In this case, the test is used to determine if lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, or medications are lowering your cholesterol successfully.
You should not eat or drink for 10 hours before the test since food and drinks can temporarily change the levels of cholesterol in your blood. However, it is okay to have water. Make sure to tell your doctor if you’re taking any over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, or herbal supplements. An LDL test only requires a simple blood sample.
According to the NCEP, if a person has no other risk factors, an LDL-C level that is less than 100 mg/dL (2.59 mmol/L) is considered optimal.