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Lipid profile test

What is a Lipid Profile Test?

A lipid profile test consists of a panel of tests that measure the level of various types of cholesterol in your bloodstream.

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It is also known as cholesterol risk profile. All blood cholesterol is not harmful and this test helps to differentiate between levels of good and bad cholesterol and other fats. The typical lipid profile provides information regarding total cholesterol, HDL/ high density lipoprotein, LDL/ low density lipoprotein and triglycerides. Some may even include VLDL/ very low density lipoprotein. It is the LDL that is the major culprit and needs to be well-controlled. However, very low HDL is also not very good for health.

Why is it conducted?

It is normally conducted when cholesterol levels are found to be high as part of a general medical examination. It is also considered to be a good indicator of cardiovascular disease and forms an essential part of preventive care.

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Changes in lifestyle and diet can greatly help to reduce your bad cholesterol levels and your risk for heart attacks. Some doctors recommend that even people who are otherwise healthy, should have this test first done at the age of 20 and then as per requirements.

Who should go for it?

  • People who have high cholesterol in routine examination.
  • People who are taking medicines to lower their cholesterol are advised this test to measure the response to treatment.
  • As the risk for heart diseases increases with age, it is better for men over 45 and women above 50 have this test.
  • Persons who have had this test previously and their HDL cholesterol (the beneficial fat) is lower than 40 mg/dL
  • In case, anyone in the family has heart disease, it is better to have a lipid profile test from time to time.
  • In some cases where there are other factors that predispose a person towards heart disease, like hypertension, diabetes or obesity, a lipid profile test can help to understand the probability of an attack.
  • Persons who have had a stroke should regularly undergo this test.
  • It is recommended that even if the previous lipid profile test returned normal, you should go in for a repeat test every five years.

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Procedure

This is a simple blood test and blood is taken from a vein in the arm. It is done after about 10 hours of fasting. You can have water but no food during this time.

Interpretation of results

Normal ranges are prescribed for all types of cholesterol. However the target range is generally decided in keeping with any other health condition that the individual may be suffering from. If there are predisposing factors like smoking, heredity, diabetes, previous history of strokes or heart attacks, one may be advised to maintain lower levels of cholesterol.

Total cholesterol

Should be less than 200 mg/dL altogether.

LDL cholesterol

One should aim for lower than 130 mg/dL as a rise in this increase the chances for heart attacks.

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HDL cholesterol

Should be greater than 40 - 60 mg/dL as it actually helps to lower the risk of heart disease.

Triglycerides

The normal range is within 10 - 150 mg/dL. These are excess fats that are stored in your body and if possible, one should try to remain around 100 mg/dL for optimal health.

VLDL

The normal range for this between 2 - 30 mg/dL. This is a harmful lipoprotein and should be kept as low as possible.

Written by: healthplus24.com team

Date last updated: January 09, 2015