What is lipid profile test?
A complete cholesterol test is also called a lipid panel or lipid profile. Your doctor can use it to measure the amount of “good” and “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood.
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy fat that your body needs to function properly. However, too much cholesterol can lead to:
- heart disease
- atherosclerosis, a clogging or hardening of your arteries
If you’re a man, you should get your cholesterol levels checked regularly, starting by age 35 or younger. If you’re a woman, you should begin routine cholesterol screening by age 45 or younger. To be on the safe side, you may want to get your cholesterol tested every year beginning as early as age 20. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure, or if you’re taking medication to control your cholesterol levels, you should check your cholesterol twice or thrice every year.
Who Is at Risk of High Cholesterol?
Cholesterol testing is very important if you:
- have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease
- are overweight or obese
- drink alcohol frequently
- smoke cigarettes
- lead an inactive lifestyle
- have diabetes, kidney disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, or an underactive thyroid gland
- Unhealthy diet
- Pre-existing heart diseases
- If you’ve had a heart attack
- If you are a male of 35 years or more or a female who is 40-45 years or more
All of these things can increase your risk of developing high cholesterol.
Why lipid profile test is done?
A complete lipid profile test measures four types of lipids, or fats, in your blood:
- Total cholesterol: This is the total amount of cholesterol in your blood.
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: This is referred to as “bad” cholesterol. Too much of it raises your risk of heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: This is referred to as “good” cholesterol because it helps remove LDL cholesterol from your blood.
- Triglycerides: When you eat, your body converts the calories it doesn’t need into triglycerides, which are stored in your fat cells. People who are overweight, diabetic, eat too many sweets, or drink too much alcohol can have high triglyceride levels.
- VLDL (Very low-density lipoproteins)
Types of lipoproteins?
They are classified based on their density into three types.
What does lipid profile test include?
Lipid profile test includes
- HDL (High-density lipoproteins)
- LDL (Low-density lipoproteins)
- VLDL (Very low-density lipoproteins)
- Total cholesterol
High-density lipoproteins (HDL) are considered as good cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins (LDL) is considered as bad cholesterol. High-density cholesterol carries cholesterol to the liver from various parts of your body. Liver functions by eliminating the cholesterol out of the body. HDL helps in moving the cholesterol away from your arteries. The increased amount of HDL helps in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. LDL gets attached to the walls of arteries and clogs them. This leads to a condition called atherosclerosis. Total cholesterol is the sum of both HDL and LDL. With the help of total cholesterol and HDL the values, total cholesterol-to-HDL ratio can be derived with which coronary heart disease and stroke can be diagnosed.
Lipid Profile Test Precautions
Smoking and medicines like statins (simvastatin, rosuvastatin) may change the levels of lipids in the blood. Hence inform your doctor or technician about all your current medications and medical conditions prior to the test.
Lipid Profile Test Preparation
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Lipid Profile. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Lipid Profile.
For this test, you may be asked to fast for at least 9-12 hours prior to the test. In youth with no risk factors like high blood pressure or diabetes, this test may be recommended without fasting.
Does lipid profile test require fasting?
Ans: Yes, lipid profile test required fasting of 10-12hrs
Can lipid profile test be done without fasting?
In certain cases, doctor advises doing the lipid profile test without fasting. Speak to your doctor. In youth with no risk factors like high blood pressure or diabetes, this test may be recommended without fasting.
Lipid Profile Normal Values
Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) per deciliter (dL) of blood. The lipid profile normal values are as follows:
- LDL: 70 to 130 mg/dL (the lower, the better)
- HDL: more than 40 to 60 mg/dL (the higher, the better)
- Total cholesterol: less than 200 mg/dL (the lower, the better)
- Triglycerides: 10 to 200 mg/dL (the lower, the better)
- VLDL: 2 – 38 mg/dL
If your results are outside the normal range, you might be at a higher risk of strokes, heart diseases, etc. On receiving abnormal results, our doctor may order some additional tests like a blood glucose test for diabetes, or a thyroid test to see if you have an underactive thyroid.
Understanding your lipid profile test results
The normal reference range may vary depending on gender, age, health history, etc.
If HDL blood levels are more than the normal range, then it may indicate that there is a very low chance for the risk of developing heart disease. If test results are less than the normal range, then it indicates that there may be a chance for the risk of developing heart disease.
If LDL blood levels are more than the normal range, then it may indicate that there is a high chance of risk for developing a heart disease and other conditions like heart attack (blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle), atherosclerosis (deposition of fat, cholesterol and other substances in the artery walls), blockage of blood flow due to fat deposition in the arteries, obesity, high consumption of fatty food items, smoking, less physical activity etc.
If VLDL blood levels are more than the normal range, then it may indicate that there is a high chance of risk for developing a heart disease and other conditions like heart attack (blockage of blood flow to the heart muscle), atherosclerosis (deposition of fat, cholesterol and other substances in the artery walls), blockage of blood flow due to fat deposition in the arteries, obesity, high consumption of fatty food items, smoking, less physical activity etc.
If your total cholesterol blood levels are higher than the normal, range then it may indicate that there is a low chance for risk of developing a heart disease, good physical activity, infection, inflammation, cirrhosis (liver damage and causes liver failure), inherited lipoprotein deficiency (genetic disorder in which a person does not have the lipoprotein lipase enzyme which helps to break down the fat molecules).
If you get abnormal lipid profile test results does not always mean you have a medical condition. Consult your doctor with your lipid profile test report. Your doctor may recommend other tests depending on your results.
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