Elevated blood cholesterol, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL), is a risk factor for heart and vascular disease. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) strongly recommends cholesterol screening for all men age 35 or older, and for women age 45 or older who are at increased risk for coronary artery disease. Other risk factors for coronary artery disease include diabetes, hypertension, smoking, and a strong family history of coronary disease. The USPSTF also recommends cholesterol screening for men ages 20-35 and women ages 20-45 if they are at increased risk for coronary artery disease.
The National Cholesterol Education Program, a subdivision of the National Institutes of Health, recommends cholesterol screening at least every 5 years for both men and women age 20 and over. Those with abnormal test results, or who have other risk factors for coronary artery disease, may benefit from more frequent screening.