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Lipid Profile

What is this test?

Lipid profile test is a set of tests used to measure the amount of cholesterol and other types of fats present in your blood. This test is helpful in assessing the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

Test parameters:

  • HDL (High-density lipoproteins)
  • LDL (Low-density lipoproteins)
  • VLDL (Very low-density lipoproteins)
  • Total cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

What is the importance of lipids?

Lipids are a bunch of fats and fat-like substances which are very useful constituents of the cells in our body. They are also an important source of energy. Cholesterol and triglycerides are the two important lipids. Cholesterol and triglycerides are transported are circulated into the blood through lipoprotein particles. Each lipoprotein particle is a combination of cholesterol, phospholipids, triglycerides and protein molecules.

Types of lipoproteins?

They are classified based on their density into three types. They are:

  • HDL (High-density lipoproteins)
  • LDL (Low-density lipoproteins)
  • VLDL (Very low-density lipoproteins)
  • Total cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

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.

Why this test is performed?

The lipid profile test is done to know whether an individual is having normal or abnormal cholesterol levels in the body. The doctor may ask to perform this test if an individual is suffering from conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and have heart disease or with a family history of heart disease, have a heart attack. This test is also done to determine the risk of developing heart disease. If an individual is on the treatment of anti-cholesterol medications like statins, then the doctor may ask to perform this test to evaluate and to check the effectiveness of the treatment and cholesterol levels in the body. This helps the doctor to rule out the patient disease condition. Generally, when a patient is diagnosed with atherosclerosis or hypercholesterolemia visits hospital for a general check-up, the doctor may ask to undergo the lipid profile test which gives a better status of the condition. Mostly, this test is done along with other tests like an electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiogram, cardiac catheterization.

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.

Frequency:

In adults with no risk factors, it is recommended every 4-6 years. For individuals above 20 years of age, this test is recommended every 4-6 years. The frequency of this test depends on various factors like age, history of heart disease, high blood pressure, physically inactive etc. If you are a diabetic or has heart disease or stroke or high blood pressure then this test is recommended every year. Lipid profile test is also recommended at regular intervals to evaluate the lifestyle changes like diet and exercise and to check the effectiveness of the treatment.

Also known as LP Blood, Lipid Test, LP.

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.

Understanding your 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 risk of developing heart disease. If test results are less than the normal range, then it indicates that there may be a chance for 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 test results does not always mean you have a medical condition. Consult your doctor with your test results. Your doctor may recommend other tests depending on your results.

GenderAge groupsValue
UNISEXAll age groups< 200mg/dl
MALEAll age groups40 - 49 mg/dll
FEMALEAll age groups50 - 59meq/dl
UNISEXAll age groups< 100 mEq/dl
UNISEXAll age groups< 180 mg/dl
UNISEXAll age groups2 TO 30 mg/dl
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