The high density lipoprotein (HDL) test is a simple blood sample test. The HDL is always measured as a part of a full cholesterol panel. These blood tests are drawn by your doctor
at least once a year to measure and track your cholesterol levels. The cholesterol panel (also known as a lipid panel) measures LDL (low density lipoprotein - the bad cholesterol), HDL (the good cholesterol), Triglycerides (simple fats) and a couple other blood lipoproteins. Each of these levels is important when predicting your risk for coronary artery disease and heart attacks.
Doctors want your LDL levels to be as low as possible and they want your HDL levels to be as high as possible. Since we don't want to put the whole world on a bunch of drugs, we place people in categories as to how high the chances of having a heart attack in the next 10 years. We are much more lenient with the LDL and HDL levels in people that are low risk (for example a young women) and much more strict with those levels in higher risk individuals (for example an older person with diabetes).
This is the type of issue that is best brought up with your primary care physician
. He or she can discuss what risk category you fit into, and where your HDL and LDL levels should be. Good luck.