Skip to main content
Explore URMC


URMC / Encyclopedia / Content

VLDL Cholesterol

Does this test have other names?

Very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol test

What is this test?

This test measures the amount of very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) in your blood.

VLDL cholesterol is a type of blood fat. It's considered one of the "bad" forms of cholesterol, along with LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. This is because high levels cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to a heart attack. Sixty percent of a VLDL particle is a triglyceride,

This test is usually used along with a series of other tests in a general lipid profile to screen for cardiovascular disease (CVD). High levels of VLDL cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood may mean you are at risk for CVD. People who are obese also have higher levels of VLDL cholesterol.

Why do I need this test?

You may need this test if you are at risk for CVD. Risk factors for CVD include:

  • Advancing age

  • Gender–men are at higher risk

  • Family history

  • High blood pressure

  • Obesity and overweight

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Diabetes

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Your healthcare provider may also order these other tests at the same time to check your cholesterol levels:

  • Total cholesterol

  • LDL ("bad") cholesterol

  • HDL ("good") cholesterol

  • Triglycerides

You may also need these tests:

  • Electrocardiogram

  • Stress test

  • Echocardiogram

  • Cardiac catheterization

What do my test results mean?

Test results may vary depending on your age, gender, health history, the method used for the test, and other things. Your test results may not mean you have a problem. Ask your healthcare provider what your test results mean for you. 

Results are given in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). Normal levels of VLDL are less than or equal to 30 mg/dL. If you have higher levels of VLDL cholesterol, you may have CVD.

How is this test done?

The test is done with a blood sample. A needle is used to draw blood from a vein in your arm or hand. 

Does this test pose any risks?

Having a blood test with a needle carries some risks. These include bleeding, infection, bruising, and feeling lightheaded. When the needle pricks your arm or hand, you may feel a slight sting or pain. Afterward, the site may be sore. 

What might affect my test results?

No other factors affect your test results.

How do I get ready for this test?

You may need to fast for 12 to 14 hours before this test. Be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don't need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
  • Haldeman-Englert, Chad, MD