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What Is A Lipid Profile Test?

What is a lipid profile blood test?

A lipid profile test, also known as a lipid panel, is an uncomplicated and non-painful blood test that measures the amount of particular fat molecules in the blood. These molecules are known as lipids and are fatty substances usually stored in the blood and tissues to be used as a means of energy. Click here to see what other people say about lipid profile tests.

Although lipids play a significant role in keeping the body functioning seamlessly, fluctuating lipid amounts in the blood can cause several disorders such as high cholesterol, which, in turn, can lead to life-threatening conditions including coronary artery diseases, stroke, heart attack, and several other cardiovascular complications.

Let us look into what a lipid profile test is and if you need it. 

What is a Lipid Profile Blood Test?             

Lipid profile tests are known by several common names, some of which include:

  • Lipid panel
  • Cholesterol panel
  • Coronary risk panel
  • Lipid test
  • Fasting lipid panel/ non-fasting lipid panel test

A lipid profile blood test typically includes four distinct kinds of cholesterol measurement along with a measurement of triglycerides in the blood. Too many lipids, such as triglycerides and cholesterol, can accumulate in the blood vessels, and this buildup can cause extensive damage to the body. 

To prevent this from happening, healthcare providers generally advise lipid panel tests for both adults and children to look into the risk of myocardial infarction, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.

Which Tests are Included in a Lipid Profile Test?

A lipid profile test generally includes the monitoring of the following five kinds of lipids from a blood sample:

  1. Total Cholesterol

The total cholesterol is a patient’s overall cholesterol, or a combination of VLDL-C, LDL-C, and HDL-C.

  1. Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol

LDL cholesterol is generally known as “bad cholesterol” and can accumulate in blood vessels to cause grave and life-threatening medical conditions. It can also elevate the risk of stroke and myocardial infarction.

  1. Very Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol

VLDL cholesterol is the kind of cholesterol typically present in minute quantities in the blood, especially when a blood sample is taken from a fasting patient. VLDL usually comes from recently eaten food, so it might be in relatively larger quantities in a non-fasting sample. However, an increased amount of this lipid in a fasting blood sample may hint at abnormal or malfunctioning lipid metabolism.

  1. High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol

HDL cholesterol is generally known as the “good cholesterol” as it helps reduce the buildup caused by LDL in the blood vessels.

  1. Triglycerides

Triglycerides are derived from the food we eat. However, excessive amounts of triglycerides in the blood may be a sign of pancreatic inflammation or cardiovascular disease.

These five primary tests are the main measurements in a standard lipid profile blood test. Some other versions of the same test may include several other measures as well.

What is a Lipid Profile Blood Test used for?

Healthcare professionals typically prescribe lipid panels to patients at risk of cardiovascular disorders or diagnose other related health conditions by evaluating the amount of cholesterol in the blood. Some other reasons why a patient might need a lipid profile test include:

  • As a standard routine test to assess if or not a patient’s cholesterol level is average or falls under the borderline, intermediate, or high-risk category. 
  • To monitor fluctuations in a patient’s cholesterol level to evaluate abnormal results on a previous test or if an individual is at high risk for cardiovascular disorders. 
  • To help diagnose ailments such as liver disease. 
  • To observe the body’s response to a treatment process, such as lifestyle changes or cholesterol-reducing medications. 

Why do you need a Lipid Profile Blood Test?

You might need a lipid profile blood test for several monitoring and screening purposes. Your healthcare provider is highly likely to suggest a lipid panel if you have one or more risk factors for cardiovascular disorders to detect elevated cholesterol levels before the symptoms aggravate. Some of these risk factors include the following:

  • Being over the age of 45 in males and 50 in females
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Diabetes or pre-diabetes
  • Family history of heart diseases (having a first degree relative, such as a sibling or a parent, who developed a heart condition under the age of 55 in males and 65 in females)

High blood cholesterol or lipid imbalance is possible in children as well; thus, they may also need a lipid panel. Children’s high cholesterol levels are usually associated with diet, obesity, or heredity. It is common for children with elevated cholesterol to have a parent with high blood cholesterol levels.

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