A lipid profile test is done to examine the cholesterol level in the body. It is also known as the cholesterol test.
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What is a lipid profile test?
A Lipid profile test is a simple blood test done to measure the level of cholesterol and certain fat in the body. It helps to evaluate the overall health of your heart.
It also helps to differentiate between the good and bad cholesterol in your body. Cholesterol is a waxy fat that plays a vital role in the functioning of your body. An abnormal level of cholesterol may lead to serious health issues, including heart diseases.
A lipid profile test is also referred to as a lipid panel test or cholesterol test.
To whom the lipid profile test is recommended?
A lipid profile test is used as part of a heart disease risk assessment. It is generally recommended for people who are at a high risk of developing heart diseases such as
- Obese: New research shows that obesity is not necessarily related to health disorders. For example, fat people in the Mediterranean can lead to very long and healthy lives. However, Indian food habits lead to “unhealthy” obesity. In India, obesity is linked to multiple diseases including cardiovascular ones.
- High blood pressure: This means that your heart is having to work harder and harder. Over a period of time, it may lead to the thickening of the heart and hence lower heart function.
- A family history of heart disease: There are families in which the father and sons all die of heart attack between the age of 55 and 60. This is one example and may not be extrapolated. However, medical research has shown that certain genes increase the probability of heart attacks and genes are generally common in a family.
- Smoking: Very difficult to understand why people will want to smoke when it is proven beyond doubt that it cause heart diseases, lower fertility, skin damage, hair loss, and many other ailments.
- Underactive thyroid gland: It is also recommended to people having an underactive thyroid gland.
As part of the preventive health management, one should get the Lipid profile test done every year after the age of 35 for men and 40 for women. For people, who have the above four characteristics, the testing should start earlier.
What are the parameters included in the lipid profile test?
The lipid profile test includes four major parameters to determine the levels of good and bad cholesterol in the body. The major parameters are
- Total cholesterol: This measures the amount of cholesterol in the blood.
- High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C): The “good cholesterol” in the blood.
- Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C): The “bad cholesterol” in the blood.
- Triglycerides: The calories which the body does not use are converted to triglycerides. Hence, triglycerides are generally considered bad. People who are fat, diabetic or eat more amount of carbohydrates without burning them, have high amounts of triglycerides in their bodies.
How should I prepare for the lipid profile tests?
The lipid profile test is a simple blood test. It does not require any special preparations. But, you may be asked to fast for at least 12 hours prior to the test to get a more accurate result.
What is the procedure of the lipid profile test?
The procedure of the lipid profile test similar to that of any other blood test. You may be asked to roll up your sleeves in either of your arms. In some cases, it will be difficult to find a vein in the patient. So, a lab technician might tie a tight band around your arm to make the veins more visible.
A needle will be injected into the vein to draw the blood sample. After drawing the sample, a cotton ball will be pressed against the puncture site to stop the bleeding.
The collected blood sample will be then tested for cholesterol levels by a pathologist.
What are the risks involved in the lipid profile test?
There are no risks involved in the lipid profile test. You may feel a little dizzy right after drawing the blood sample which will be okay after some time time. You should also inform your doctor if you are on any kind of blood-thinning medication which might make it difficult to stop the bleeding.
Other than this, there are no complications in the lipid profile test.
What does the lipid profile test result mean?
The lipid profile test result will show the amount of good and bad cholesterol in your body. The following are the normal range of cholesterol levels that should be present in your body.
|Cholesterol||<200 mg/dl||200 – 239 mg /dl||>240 mg/dl|
|Triglyceride||<150 mg/dl||150 – 199 mg / dl||200 – 499 mg/dl|
|HDL cholesterol||60 mg/dl||35-45 mg/dl||<35 mg/dl|
|LDL cholesterol||60 – 130 mg/dl||130 – 159 mg/dl||160 – 189 mg/dl|
|Cholesterol / HDL ratio||4.0||5.0||6.0|
You may be given medications and will be asked to follow a diet to keep the cholesterol levels in control by your doctor.
How to control cholesterol levels?
There are a few initiatives that you can take to balance your cholesterol levels are
- Quit smoking & control alcohol consumption
- Go for a routine walk regularly
- Do some exercises or physical work that may help lose your extra body fat
- Include fiber and roughages in your diet
- Avoid junk or fried food