A cholesterol test, also called a lipid profile, is a simple blood test that measures more than just the total amount of cholesterol in your blood. The table below shows what is measured:

Items measured in a cholesterol test

What is measured

Also known as


LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol


LDL-C cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol that clogs your arteries and increases the risk of developing heart disease.

HDL-C (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol


HDL-C cholesterol is the "good" cholesterol that clears LDL-C cholesterol out of your arteries.

TG (triglycerides)

TG are a non-cholesterol type of fat. TG increase the risk of developing heart disease. TG can also lower the levels of HDL cholesterol.

TC (total cholesterol)

TC is a measure of the total amount of LDL-C cholesterol, HDL-C cholesterol, and VLDL cholesterol (VLDL is calculated using your triglyceride value).

Total cholesterol/ HDL-C ratio

TC:HDL-C ratio

This is the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL-C cholesterol. It is a number calculated by dividing the total cholesterol by HDL-C cholesterol (TC ÷ HDL-C).

For more information on LDL-C, HDL-C, TG, and TC, see "Good" and "bad" cholesterol... what does it all mean?

Ask your doctor whether you should have your cholesterol tested.