LIPIDS PROFILE MEANING
A pattern of lipids in the blood. A lipid profile usually includes the levels of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and the calculated low-density lipoprotein (LDL) ‘cholesterol.
GOOD & BAD CHOLESTEROL
‘Good’ cholesterol is good because they help get rid of excess cholesterol by transporting them from the blood vessels to the liver for excretion. HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) is good cholesterol.
‘Bad’ cholesterol is bad because it adds cholesterol to your blood by transporting it from the liver. Apart from that they also lead to the formation of plaque which puts you at risk of suffering from high BP, chest pain, heart problems etc. Formed from VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein), it is this compound that helps mobilize cholesterol from the liver depositing it in your blood vessels.
WHAT ARE TRIGLYCERIDES?
Triglycerides are another type of fat or lipid that combine with cholesterol to form a compound called plasma lipids, that then get deposited in your blood vessels. Your body stores excess fat (that you get from food) in the form of triglycerides so that during times when you do not eat (like between meals) it can use these fat stores as a form of energy.
INTRODUCTION OF LIPID PROFILE
The lipid profile is used as part of a cardiac risk assessment to help determine an individual’s risk of heart disease and to help make decisions about what treatment may be best if there is borderline or high risk.
Lipids are a group of fats and fat-like substances that are important constituents of cells and sources of energy. Monitoring and maintaining healthy levels of these lipids is important in staying healthy. (For more on lipids, see the “What is being tested?” section.)
The results of the lipid profile are considered along with other known risk factors of heart disease to develop a plan of treatment and follow-up. Depending on the results and other risk factors, treatment options may involve lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise or lipid-lowering medications such as statins.
LIPID PROFILE VALUES AND REPORT
TOTAL CHOLESTEROL (TC)
Directly linked to risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
75-169 mg/dL for those age 20 and younger
100-199 mg/dL for those over age 21
This test may be measured any time of the day without fasting. However, if the test is drawn as part of a total lipid profile, it requires a 12-hour fast (no food or drink, except water). For the most accurate results, wait at least two months after a heart attack, surgery, infection, injury or pregnancy to check cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is a type of fat, found in your blood. It is produced by your body and also comes from the foods you eat (animal products). Cholesterol is needed by your body to maintain the health of your cells. Too much cholesterol leads to coronary artery disease. Your blood cholesterol level is related to the foods you eat or to genetic conditions (passed down from other generations of family members).
HIGH DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN (HDL) “GOOD CHOLESTEROL”
High levels linked to a reduced risk of heart and blood vessel disease. The higher your HDL level, the better.
Greater than 40 mg/dL
This test may be measured any time of the day without fasting. However, if the test is drawn as part of a total lipid profile, it requires a 12-hour fast (no food or drink, except water). For the most accurate results, wait at least two months after a heart attack, surgery, infection, injury or pregnancy to check HDL levels.
HDL is a lipoprotein (a combination of fat and protein) found in the blood. It is called “good” cholesterol because it removes excess cholesterol from the blood and takes it to the liver. A high HDL level is related to lower risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
LOW DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN (LDL) “BAD CHOLESTEROL”
High levels are linked to an increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease, including coronary artery disease, heart attack and death. Reducing LDL levels is a major treatment target for cholesterol-lowering medications.
Less than 70 mg/dL for those with heart or blood vessel disease and for other patients at very high risk of heart disease (those with metabolic syndrome)
Less than 100 mg/dL for high risk patients (e.g., some patients who have multiple heart disease risk factors)
Less than 130 mg/dL for individuals who are at low risk for coronary artery disease
Blood should be collected after a 12-hour fast (no food or drink, except water). For the most accurate results, wait at least two months after a heart attack, surgery, infection, injury or pregnancy to check LDL levels.
LDL is a lipoprotein (a combination of fat and protein) found in the blood. It is called “bad” cholesterol because it picks up cholesterol from the blood and takes it to the cells. A high LDL level is related to a higher risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
Elevated in obese or diabetic patients. Level increases from eating simple sugars or drinking alcohol. Associated with heart and blood vessel disease.
Less than 150 mg/dl
Blood should be collected after a 12-hour fast (no food or drink, except water). For the most accurate results, wait at least two months after a heart attack, surgery, infection, injury or pregnancy to check triglyceride levels.
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. The blood level of this type of fat is most affected by the foods you eat (such as sugar, fat or alcohol) but can also be high due to being overweight, having thyroid or liver disease and genetic conditions. High levels of triglycerides are related to a higher risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
WHEN LIPID PROFILE IS ORDERED?
It is recommended that healthy adults with no other risk factors for heart disease be tested with a fasting lipid profile once every four to six years. Initial screening may involve only a single test for total cholesterol and not a full lipid profile. However, if the screening cholesterol test result is high, it will likely be followed by testing with a lipid profile.
If other risk factors are present or if previous testing revealed a high cholesterol level in the past, more frequent testing with a full lipid profile is recommended.
RISK FACTORS OTHER THAN HIGH LOW-DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN CHOLESTEROL (LDL-C) INCLUDE:
Age (if you are a male 45 years or older or a female 50-55 years or older)
Low HDL cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL (1.04 mmol/L))
Hypertension (blood pressure of 140/90 or higher or taking high blood pressure medications)
Family history of premature heart disease (heart disease in a first degree male relative under age 55 or a first degree female relative under age 65)
Note: High HDL (60 mg/dL or above) is considered a “negative risk factor” and its presence allows the removal of one risk factor from the total.
For children and adolescents, routine lipid testing is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in all children once between the ages of 9 and 11 and again between 17 and 21. Earlier and more frequent screening with a lipid profile is recommended for children and youths who are at an increased risk of developing heart disease as adults. Some of the risk factors are similar to those in adults and include a family history of heart disease or health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or being overweight. High-risk children should be tested between 2 and 8 years old with a fasting lipid profile.
Children younger than 2 years old are too young to be tested.
A lipid profile may also be ordered at regular intervals to evaluate the success of lipid-lowering lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise or to determine the effectiveness of drug therapy such as statins.