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The lipid profile test consists of tests for Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides, High Density Lipoproteins (HDL), Low density Lipoproteins (LDL), Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL), Cholesterol/HDL Ratio
When is the lipid profile ordered?
Lipid profile is done in individuals who
• Have a family history of high cholesterol/triglycerides or a family history of heart disease
• Are Obese
• Have High Blood pressure
• Have Type 2 Diabetes or are Prediabetics
• Have Metabolic syndrome
The Lipid profile test needs a fasting state of at least 12 hours. During this fasting state, no food or beverage other than water is permitted. It is also advised to avoid a fatty meal the night before testing and avoid consumption of alcohol or smoking cigarettes.
Some clinicians may advise their patients to do the test in a non fasting state, when they are primarily concerned with the Non-HDL Cholesterol, which is the Total Cholesterol minus the HDL Cholesterol. A high Non-HDL cholesterol level may also indicate increased risk for heart ailments
The lipid profile test results are available on the same day of testing
Fats are transported in the body with the help of particles called lipoproteins. These lipoproteins contain some lipid (fat) and some protein, hence the name lipo-protein. Cholesterol is transported from the liver to the different parts in the body with the help of these lipoproteins, where it plays an important role in cellular functions and production of several hormones such as sex hormones and steroid hormones, which are essential for normal metabolism and health.
Lipoproteins are divided based on their density into High Density Lipoproteins (HDL), Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) and Very Low density Lipoproteins (VLDL)
HDL is also known as the “good cholesterol” because this lipoprotein helps to transport cholesterol from the arteries back to the liver. This helps to clear the circulation of excess cholesterol.
Low density Lipoproteins (LDL) that contain cholesterol is popularly known as the "bad cholesterol". Increase in the amount of LDL leads to accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries and undergoes a chemical change due to oxidation. As the cholesterol continues to accumulate in the arteries. This leads to narrowing of the lumen of the arteries and thickening of the walls. The narrowed lumen can lead to reduced blood flow and cause death of the tissues. This is one of the reasons for heart attacks and strokes.
So, in order to avoid such complications it is important to keep a balance between the good and bad cholesterol and keep all the lipids in within the normal limits.
Triglycerides are a type of fat stored in the fat cells of the body. When excess amount of calories are available in the body , they are converted to triglycerides and stored in the fat cells for future use.
High triglycerides are also associated with increased risk of heart attack , heart disease and strokes. High triglycerides are commonly seen in individuals who
Those with high triglycerides have also increased risk of developing inflammation of the pancreas, which may present as abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting
Desired value : Less than 200 mg/dl
Borderline value : 200 - 239 mg/dl
High value : More than 240 mg/dl
Normal Value : Less than 160 mg/dl
Low : Less than 40 mg/dl
High : More than 60 mg/dl
Serum LDL Cholesterol
Normal : Less than 100 mg/dl
Near Normal : 100 to 129 mg /dl
Borderline High: 130 to 159 mg/dl
High : 160 to 189 mg/dl
Very High : More than 190 mg/dl
What others tests are usually done along with the Lipid Profile test?
What treatment is recommended if my Lipids levels are high?
If the cholesterol and triglycerides are just above the normal or desired reference range , the doctor may advise a change in lifestyle, which may include change in diet and starting moderate exercise. Diet changes may include avoid junk food and fatty meals rich in saturated fats, along avoiding intake of alcohol.
Exercises suggested may include brisk walk every other day for 40 to 45 mins depending on the current fitness levels. Those with diabetes mellitus will require a tighter control on their blood sugar levels and would need to avoid foods with a high glycemic index.
If in-spite of lifestyle changes, the lipid levels are not controlled , then medication will be required to bring down the high lipid levels. Usually statins and bile acid binding group of drugs are started, to control the blood cholesterol levels. Fibrates and omega 3 fatty acid supplements may be used to reduce the triglycerides.