Description: A Lipid Panel is a blood test that measures your cholesterol levels to evaluate your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Also Known As: Lipid Profile Test, Lipid Test, Cholesterol Profile Test, Cholesterol Panel Test, Cholesterol Test, Coronary Risk Panel Test, lipid blood test, Lipid w/Ratios Test, Cholesterol Ratio test, blood cholesterol Test
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Serum
Test Preparation: No preparation required
When is this test ordered?
A fasting lipid profile should be done about every five years in healthy persons who have no additional risk factors for heart disease. A single total cholesterol test, rather than a complete lipid profile, may be used for initial screening. If the screening cholesterol test result is high, a lipid profile will almost certainly be performed.
More regular testing with a full lipid profile is indicated if other risk factors are present or if earlier testing revealed a high cholesterol level.
Other risk factors, in addition to high LDL cholesterol, include:
- Obesity or being overweight
- Unhealthy eating habits
- Not getting enough exercise and being physically inactive
- Older age
- Having hypertension
- Premature heart disease in the family
- Having experienced a heart attack or having pre-existing heart disease
Diabetes or pre-diabetes is a condition in which a person has High HDL is a "negative risk factor," and its existence permits one risk factor to be removed from the total.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends routine lipid testing for children and young adults. Children and teenagers who are at a higher risk of developing heart disease as adults should be screened with a lipid profile earlier and more frequently. A family history of heart disease or health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or being overweight are some of the risk factors, which are comparable to those in adults. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, high-risk children should be examined with a fasting lipid profile between the ages of 2 and 8.
A lipid profile can also be done at regular intervals to assess the effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering lifestyle changes like diet and exercise, as well as pharmacological therapy like statins.
What is being tested?
Lipids are a class of fats and fat-like compounds that are essential components of cells and energy sources. The level of certain lipids in the blood is measured by a lipid profile.
Lipoprotein particles transport two key lipids, cholesterol and triglycerides, through the bloodstream. Protein, cholesterol, triglyceride, and phospholipid molecules are all present in each particle. High-density lipoproteins, low-density lipoproteins, and very low-density lipoproteins are the three types of particles assessed with a lipid profile.
It's critical to keep track of and maintain optimal levels of these lipids in order to stay healthy. While the body creates the cholesterol required for normal function, some cholesterol is obtained from the diet. A high amount of cholesterol in the blood can be caused by eating too many foods high in saturated fats and trans fats or having a hereditary tendency. The excess cholesterol may form plaques on the inside walls of blood vessels. Plaques can constrict or block blood channel openings, causing artery hardening and raising the risk of a variety of health problems, including heart disease and stroke. Although the explanation for this is unknown, a high level of triglycerides in the blood is linked to an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
A lipid profile consists of the following elements:
- Cholesterol total
- HDL Cholesterol - commonly referred to as "good cholesterol" since it eliminates excess cholesterol from the body and transports it to the liver for elimination.
- LDL Cholesterol - commonly referred to as "bad cholesterol" because it deposits excess cholesterol in the walls of blood arteries, contributing to atherosclerosis.
- Ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol
Related Tests and Panels:
- CBC (Blood Count Test) with Smear Review
- Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
- Direct LDL
- Apolipoprotein A1
- Apolipoprotein B
- Lipoprotein (a)
- Lipoprotein Fractionation Ion Mobility (LDL Particle Testing)
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Heart Disease
Commonly Asked Questions:
How is this test used by my health care provider?
The lipid profile is used as part of a cardiac risk assessment to help determine an individual's risk of heart disease and, if there is a borderline or high risk, to help make treatment options.
Lipids are a class of fats and fat-like compounds that are essential components of cells and energy sources. It's critical to keep track of and maintain optimal levels of these lipids in order to stay healthy.
To design a therapy and follow-up strategy, the results of the lipid profile are combined with other recognized risk factors for heart disease. Treatment options may include lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, as well as lipid-lowering drugs such as statins, depending on the results and other risk factors.
A normal lipid profile test measures the following elements:
- Total cholesterol is a test that determines how much cholesterol is present in all lipoprotein particles.
- HDL Cholesterol — measures hdl cholesterol in particles, sometimes referred to as "good cholesterol" since it eliminates excess cholesterol and transports it to the liver for elimination.
- LDL Cholesterol – estimates the cholesterol in LDL particles; sometimes known as "bad cholesterol" since it deposits excess cholesterol in blood vessel walls, contributing to atherosclerosis. The amount of LDL Cholesterol is usually estimated using the total cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, and triglycerides readings.
- Triglycerides – triglycerides are measured in all lipoprotein particles, with the highest concentration in very-low-density lipoproteins.
- As part of the lipid profile, several extra information may be presented. The results of the above-mentioned tests are used to determine these parameters.
- VLDL Cholesterol — derived using triglycerides/5; this calculation is based on the typical VLDL particle composition.
- Non-HDL Cholesterol - the result of subtracting total cholesterol from HDL Cholesterol.
- Cholesterol/HDL ratio — total cholesterol to HDL Cholesterol ratio computed.
An expanded profile may include the amount and concentration of low-density lipoprotein particles. Rather than assessing the amount of LDL cholesterol, this test counts the number of LDL particles. This figure is thought to more accurately reflect the risk of heart disease in some persons.
What do my Lipid Panel test results mean?
Healthy lipid levels, in general, aid in the maintenance of a healthy heart and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. A health practitioner would analyze the results of each component of a lipid profile, as well as other risk factors, to assess a person's total risk of coronary heart disease, if therapy is required, and, if so, which treatment will best serve to reduce the person's risk of heart disease.
The Adult Treatment Panel III of the National Cholesterol Education Program published guidelines for measuring lipid levels and selecting treatment in 2002. The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association announced updated cholesterol therapy guidelines in 2013 to minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease in adults. These guidelines suggest a different treatment method than the NCEP guidelines. Cholesterol-lowering medications are now chosen based on the 10-year risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and other criteria, rather than on LDL-C or non-HDL-C objectives.
The revised guidelines include an evidence-based risk calculator for ASCVD that may be used to identify people who are most likely to benefit from treatment. It's for adults between the ages of 40 and 79 who don't have a heart condition. The computation takes into account a number of characteristics, including age, gender, race, total cholesterol, HDL-C, blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking habits. The new guidelines also suggest comparing therapeutic response to LDL-C baseline readings, with decrease criteria varying depending on the degree of lipid-lowering medication therapy.
Unhealthy lipid levels, as well as the presence of additional risk factors like age, family history, cigarette smoking, diabetes, and high blood pressure, may indicate that the person being examined needs to be treated.
The NCEP Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines specify target LDL cholesterol levels based on the findings of lipid testing and these other main risk factors. Individuals with LDL-C levels over the target limits will be treated, according to the guidelines.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, screening youths with risk factors for heart disease with a full, fasting lipid panel is advised. Fasting is not required prior to lipid screening in children who do not have any risk factors. For non-fasting lipid screening, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol is the preferred test. Non-HDL-C is computed by subtracting total cholesterol and HDL-C from total cholesterol and HDL-C.
Is there anything else I should know?
The measurement of triglycerides in people who haven't fasted is gaining popularity. Because most of the day, blood lipid levels reflect post-meal levels rather than fasting levels, a non-fasting sample may be more representative of the "usual" circulating level of triglyceride. However, because it is still unclear how to interpret non-fasting levels for assessing risk, the current recommendations for fasting before lipid tests remain unchanged.
A fasting lipid profile is usually included in a routine cardiac risk assessment. In addition, research into the utility of additional non-traditional cardiac risk markers, such as Lp-PLA2, is ongoing. A health care provider may use one or more of these markers to help determine a person's risk, but there is no consensus on how to use them and they are not widely available.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.