Lipid Panel Most Popular

The Lipid Panel test contains 1 test with 6 biomarkers.

Brief Description: A Lipid Panel test, also known as a lipid profile or lipid panel, is a blood test that provides valuable information about a patient's lipid levels and helps assess their risk for cardiovascular diseases. It measures various types of lipids, including cholesterol and triglycerides, which are essential for maintaining overall health. The Lipid Panel test plays a crucial role in evaluating lipid metabolism and identifying potential risks for heart disease.

Also Known As: Lipid Profile Test, Lipid Test, Cholesterol Profile Test, Cholesterol Panel Test, Cholesterol Test, Coronary Risk Panel Test, lipid blood test 

Collection Method: Blood Draw 

Specimen Type: Serum 

Test Preparation: Patient should be fasting 9-12 hours prior to collection.

When is a Lipid Panel test ordered?  

A Lipid Panel test may be ordered in several situations to evaluate a patient's lipid levels and assess cardiovascular risk factors:

  1. Routine Health Check-ups: Doctors often include a Lipid Panel test as part of routine check-ups, especially for individuals with risk factors such as a family history of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

  2. Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk: The Lipid Panel test helps assess a patient's risk for cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks or strokes. It is particularly important for individuals with a history of cardiovascular disease or those with risk factors such as smoking, sedentary lifestyle, or poor diet.

  3. Monitoring Lipid-Lowering Treatments: For patients already diagnosed with high cholesterol or lipid disorders, regular Lipid Panel tests are ordered to monitor the effectiveness of lipid-lowering medications or lifestyle modifications.

  4. Evaluation of Overall Lipid Metabolism: The Lipid Panel test is used to evaluate lipid metabolism and provide insights into the balance of different lipids in the body, aiding in the detection of lipid disorders or imbalances.

What does a Lipid Panel blood test check for? 

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. 
  • Triglycerides 

Lab tests often ordered with a Lipid Panel test:

Additional tests may be ordered alongside a Lipid Panel to provide more information about cardiovascular risk or the underlying causes of lipid abnormalities. Here are some of these tests:

  1. Complete Blood Count (CBC):

    • Purpose: Evaluates overall health and detects a variety of disorders, such as anemia and infection.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Though not directly related to lipid levels, a CBC may be part of a general health checkup or to investigate symptoms that could be related to cardiovascular risk, such as fatigue.
  2. Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) or Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP):

    • Purpose: Tests for various biochemicals in the blood, including liver and kidney function, blood sugar, and electrolytes.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To assess overall health, particularly if there is a concern for conditions that may be related to lipid abnormalities, such as diabetes or liver disease.
  3. Thyroid Function Tests (TFTs):

    • Purpose: Measures levels of thyroid hormones, which can influence cholesterol levels.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Hypothyroidism can lead to elevated cholesterol levels; therefore, thyroid function tests may be ordered if there is a suspicion of thyroid dysfunction.
  4. Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c):

    • Purpose: Indicates the average level of blood sugar over the past three months.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Diabetes is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Elevated glucose levels can coincide with lipid abnormalities, so this test can be important in managing overall cardiovascular risk.
  5. Liver Function Tests (LFTs):

    • Purpose: Assesses liver health, which is essential as the liver produces and clears cholesterol from the body.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To determine if an abnormal lipid profile may be related to liver dysfunction.
  6. High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP):

    • Purpose: A marker of inflammation in the body, which is now recognized as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To evaluate the risk of cardiovascular diseases, as higher CRP levels have been associated with an increased risk.
  7. Apolipoprotein B (ApoB):

    • Purpose: ApoB is a component of LDL cholesterol, and high levels are associated with heart disease.
    • Why Is It Ordered: To provide additional information about cardiovascular risk, particularly in patients with a family history of heart disease or in those with abnormal lipid panels.
  8. Lipoprotein (a) or Lp(a):

    • Purpose: A type of lipoprotein that can contribute to atherosclerosis.
    • Why Is It Ordered: Elevated Lp(a) levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and may be particularly important in individuals with a strong family history of heart disease.
  9. Fasting Blood Glucose:

    • Purpose: Measures current blood sugar levels and is an important indicator of metabolic health.
    • Why Is It Ordered: High blood glucose can affect lipid levels and vice versa; it is also essential for diagnosing diabetes or prediabetes.
  10. Insulin Levels:

    • Purpose: Measures the amount of insulin in the blood; high levels may indicate insulin resistance, which is associated with Type 2 Diabetes.
    • Why Is It Ordered: There is a strong relationship between insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease, and it can influence lipid levels.

The decision to order any of these tests alongside a Lipid Panel will depend on the individual's specific situation, including their medical history, risk factors for heart disease, and the results of their initial lipid test.

Conditions where a Lipid Panel test is recommended:

A Lipid Panel test is commonly ordered for:

  1. Hyperlipidemia: Lipid Panel tests are used to diagnose and monitor conditions like high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) or high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia).

  2. Cardiovascular Disease: Individuals with a history of cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks, or strokes require Lipid Panel tests to assess their lipid levels and monitor their cardiovascular risk.

  3. Metabolic Syndrome: Lipid Panel tests help evaluate lipid abnormalities associated with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal lipid levels.

How does my healthcare provider use a Lipid Panel test? 

Healthcare providers use the results of a Lipid Panel test to:

  1. Assess Cardiovascular Risk: Lipid Panel results provide information about a patient's cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglyceride levels, helping healthcare providers assess the patient's risk for cardiovascular diseases and determine appropriate interventions or treatments.

  2. Guide Treatment and Lifestyle Interventions: If abnormal lipid levels are detected, healthcare providers may recommend lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes, exercise, and weight loss. Medications may also be prescribed to manage lipid disorders and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

  3. Monitor Treatment Effectiveness: Regular Lipid Panel tests allow healthcare providers to monitor the effectiveness of lipid-lowering treatments, such as statins, and make necessary adjustments to optimize patient care and reduce cardiovascular risk.

By effectively utilizing the results of a Lipid Panel test, healthcare providers can assess cardiovascular risk, guide treatment decisions, and help patients manage their lipid levels to reduce the risk of heart disease and related complications.

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 Cholesterol or non-HDL Cholesterol 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 Cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and smoking habits. The new guidelines also suggest comparing therapeutic response to LDL Cholesterol 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 Cholesterol 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 Cholesterol is computed by subtracting total cholesterol and HDL Cholesterol from total cholesterol and HDL Cholesterol. 

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. 

Most Common Questions about the Lipid Panel Test:

Understanding the Lipid Panel Test

What components are included in the Lipid Panel test?

The Lipid Panel test, also known as lipid profile or lipid blood test, typically measures four types of lipids (fats) in your blood: total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides.

What is the significance of total cholesterol in the Lipid Panel test?

Total cholesterol is a measure of all cholesterol in your blood, including HDL, LDL, and other lipid components. High total cholesterol can indicate an increased risk of heart disease, but it's not the sole factor to consider; the proportions of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides are also important.

What is the importance of LDL cholesterol in the Lipid Panel test?

LDL cholesterol, often called "bad cholesterol", contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries (atherosclerosis). Higher levels of LDL cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

What role does HDL cholesterol play in the Lipid Panel test?

HDL cholesterol, or "good cholesterol", carries cholesterol from other parts of the body back to the liver, which removes it from your body. Higher levels of HDL cholesterol are generally associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

Why are triglycerides measured in the Lipid Panel test?

Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. High levels can increase the risk of heart disease, especially in conjunction with low HDL or high LDL cholesterol levels. High triglycerides can also be a sign of conditions such as diabetes or hypothyroidism.

Applications and Interpretations

Why might a healthcare provider order a Lipid Panel test?

A healthcare provider might order a Lipid Panel test to evaluate your risk of developing heart disease, or to monitor cholesterol levels if you have been diagnosed with a lipid disorder or you are taking medication to control your cholesterol.

How can a Lipid Panel test aid in diagnosing heart disease?

A Lipid Panel test can indicate risk factors for heart disease. High levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, or triglycerides, or a low level of HDL cholesterol, can suggest an increased risk of developing plaque in the arteries, which can lead to heart disease.

Can a Lipid Panel test diagnose other conditions besides heart disease?

While primarily used to assess heart disease risk, a Lipid Panel can also help identify other conditions. For example, very high triglycerides could indicate a metabolic disorder or pancreatitis. Similarly, changes in lipid levels can suggest liver disease, kidney disease, or thyroid problems.

Can a Lipid Panel test detect the risk of stroke?

Yes, a Lipid Panel can help identify risk factors for stroke. High LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, or low HDL cholesterol levels, can lead to the development of atherosclerosis, which can cause strokes if arteries supplying the brain are affected.

What do abnormal results mean in a Lipid Panel test?

Abnormal results in a Lipid Panel test can signify increased risk for heart disease or other health problems. High total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, or triglycerides, or low HDL cholesterol, can indicate a greater risk for atherosclerosis and heart disease. Very high triglycerides could suggest a risk of pancreatitis. Other conditions such as liver disease, kidney disease, or hypothyroidism can also impact lipid levels.

Specific Conditions and Medications

How can the Lipid Panel test be used to monitor diabetes?

People with diabetes are at a higher risk for heart disease due to a higher likelihood of having abnormal cholesterol levels. Thus, a Lipid Panel test is often part of the management plan for people with diabetes to monitor their cholesterol levels and adjust treatment as needed.

Can a Lipid Panel test detect metabolic syndrome?

A Lipid Panel test can help identify some of the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome, such as high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, or increased LDL cholesterol. Other criteria for metabolic syndrome diagnosis, such as high blood pressure and increased waist circumference, would not be detected by a Lipid Panel.

How can the Lipid Panel test help in managing thyroid disorders?

Thyroid disorders can affect cholesterol levels, with hypothyroidism often causing an increase in cholesterol. Thus, a Lipid Panel test can be useful in managing thyroid disorders by monitoring cholesterol levels and adjusting treatment as needed.

How does the Lipid Panel test relate to liver diseases?

Liver diseases can affect the metabolism of lipids, often leading to increased cholesterol or triglyceride levels. Therefore, a Lipid Panel test can provide useful information in the diagnosis and management of liver diseases.

How can the Lipid Panel test help monitor the effects of cholesterol-lowering medications?

The Lipid Panel test is a crucial part of monitoring the effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering medications like statins. It can show how well the medication is working to lower LDL cholesterol and possibly raise HDL cholesterol, and it can help in adjusting dosages if necessary.

Preparation and Frequency of Testing

Is fasting required before a Lipid Panel test?

Traditionally, a 9-12 hour fast was required before a Lipid Panel test because eating can temporarily increase triglyceride levels. However, recent guidelines have indicated that non-fasting samples are acceptable for initial screening in many cases.

How often should I have a Lipid Panel test?

The frequency of testing depends on your individual risk factors, current health status, and family history. Adults without significant risk factors for heart disease are often tested every 4 to 6 years. People with known high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, or other risk factors may need more frequent testing. Always follow your healthcare provider's recommendations.

Are there any medications that can affect the Lipid Panel test results?

Yes, several medications can affect lipid levels, including steroids, beta blockers, oral contraceptives, diuretics, certain antidepressants, and others. Always make sure to inform your healthcare provider of all medications you are taking.

N-Acetyl Cysteine or NAC that has been administered for the treatment of acetaminophen overdose has been found to interfere with cholesterol testing and may lead to falsely lowered results

Can lifestyle changes affect the results of the Lipid Panel test?

Absolutely. Dietary changes, weight loss, regular exercise, and quitting smoking can all have a positive effect on your lipid levels, and these changes will be reflected in your Lipid Panel test results.

Interpretation of Results

What is considered a healthy level of total cholesterol in the Lipid Panel test?

According to the American Heart Association, a total cholesterol level below 200 mg/dL is considered desirable for adults.

What is a healthy level of LDL cholesterol in the Lipid Panel test?

Optimal levels of LDL cholesterol for adults are usually considered to be less than 100 mg/dL.

What is considered a healthy level of HDL cholesterol in the Lipid Panel test?

For HDL cholesterol, higher levels are better. A level less than 40 mg/dL is considered low (and is a risk factor for heart disease), while a level of 60 mg/dL or higher is considered protective against heart disease.

What is considered a healthy level of triglycerides in the Lipid Panel test?

For triglycerides, a level below 150 mg/dL is considered normal. Levels above 200 mg/dL are considered high, and above 500 mg/dL is very high.

How should I interpret the results of the Lipid Panel test in relation to my overall health?

Interpreting the results of the Lipid Panel test should be done in conjunction with a healthcare professional who can consider the whole picture of your health, including other risk factors you may have for heart disease. While this test provides important information about your cholesterol levels, it's just one piece of your overall health assessment.

Can the Lipid Panel test replace a healthy lifestyle in preventing heart disease?

No, a Lipid Panel test cannot replace a healthy lifestyle. It's merely a tool to monitor your cholesterol levels and assess your risk for heart disease. A healthy lifestyle – including a balanced diet, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking – is the most effective way to prevent heart disease and improve your overall health.

We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.

The following is a list of what is included in the item above. Click the test(s) below to view what biomarkers are measured along with an explanation of what the biomarker is measuring.

Also known as: Cholesterol, HDL,Fasting Lipids,Cholesterol, LDL, Fasting Lipids, Lipid Panel (fasting), Lipid Profile (fasting), Lipids

Chol/HDLC Ratio

Cholesterol, Total

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body. Your body needs some cholesterol to work properly. But if you have too much in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood and stick to the walls of your arteries. This is called plaque. Plaque can narrow your arteries or even block them. High levels of cholesterol in the blood can increase your risk of heart disease. Your cholesterol levels tend to rise as you get older. There are usually no signs or symptoms that you have high blood cholesterol, but it can be detected with a blood test. You are likely to have high cholesterol if members of your family have it, if you are overweight or if you eat a lot of fatty foods. You can lower your cholesterol by exercising more and eating more fruits and vegetables. You also may need to take medicine to lower your cholesterol.

HDL Cholesterol

LDL-Cholesterol

Non HDL Cholesterol

Triglycerides

Triglycerides are a form of fat and a major source of energy for the body. This test measures the amount of triglycerides in the blood. Most triglycerides are found in fat (adipose) tissue, but some triglycerides circulate in the blood to provide fuel for muscles to work. After a person eats, an increased level of triglycerides is found in the blood as the body converts the energy not needed right away into fat. Triglycerides move via the blood from the gut to adipose tissue for storage. In between meals, triglycerides are released from fat tissue to be used as an energy source for the body. Most triglycerides are carried in the blood by lipoproteins called very low density lipoproteins (VLDL). High levels of triglycerides in the blood are associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), although the reason for this is not well understood. Certain factors can contribute to high triglyceride levels and to risk of CVD, including lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking cigarettes, consuming excess alcohol, and medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease.
*Process times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. The lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

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