Biometric Screening Tests
Biometric Screening Tests

Understanding your health tests and results

Register for your health screening.

Dr. Rich Penaloza, associate medical director for the CU Health Plan, offers this guide to help you understand the free tests you'll be taking at the Plan's fall 2013 biometric health screenings.

Every person is different, so always consult with your doctor to determine what's right for you.

See information about how to prepare for your screening and what additional, discounted tests will be available.


What it measures

Ideal number/range

Things to know

Blood pressure

measures the pressure in your arteries


below 140 systolic/below 90 diastolic, and below 130/80 for those with kidney disease and diabetes

High blood pressure puts stress on your organs and can lead to strokes, vascular disease, aneurysms and worse.

Lipid profile

measures your total cholesterol by testing your LDL and HDL cholesterol, and your triglyceride levels


This set of tests is used to determine your risk for developing heart disease. LDL cholesterol is the most significant factor.

LDL cholesterol

low-density lipoprotein, aka, “bad” cholesterol, as it can build on your arterial walls and lead to heart disease

LDL should be no higher than 160 if you have no risk factors.

multiple risk factors: below 130

diabetics: below 100

heart disease sufferers: below 70


Risk factors include known heart disease, diabetes, or a history of either.

“LDL is most significant if it’s in the high range; it puts you at significant risk for development of vascular disease.”

HDL cholesterol

measures high-density lipoprotein, aka, “good” cholesterol, as it helps prevent heart disease by eliminating LDL

40 milligrams per deciliter or above

“The higher the number, the better.”

Genetics and exercise play roles in these levels.


measures fat in your blood that’s eventually stored in fat cells

less than 150 milligrams per deciliter

Penaloza says triglyceride levels above 150 are not necessarily a cause for concern, though those levels should be monitored, and as treated, they'll likely come down.

“There’s very little evidence that there’s a major correlation between triglycerides and heart disease,” he says.

Height, weight and waist circumference

Together, they form an equation, the result of which indirectly determines your body fat, or body mass index (BMI).


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use the following BMI standards:

—below 18.5: underweight
—18.5 – 24.9: normal
—25 – 29.9: overweight
—30 and above: obese

Centralized fat found in waist circumference tests may be a risk for developing heart disease.

As your weight increases, so does your risk for developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

Dramatic loss in height—greater than one inch—may be a sign of bone loss or osteoporosis.