A lipid panel tests for cholesterol and the different fats in your blood. These fats are called lipids. Lipids are part of a group of fats and related fat substances that are important components of cells and energy sources that keep your body working as it should. Disorders with lipids include high cholesterol which may induce heart attacks, strokes, and coronary artery disease.
• high-density lipoprotein (HDL)
• low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
Your health care provider may order a lipid panel as a preventative measure or as part of a standard health exam. Blood will be drawn to help determine and diagnose the lipid levels in your blood. A lipid panel may also be ordered because of various symptoms that you experience that are related to heart and related diseases.
The results of testing may be for diagnosing certain medical conditions, preventing certain conditions, or checking on symptoms that are occurring.
Do follow instructions given to you prior to the test. Fasting is imperative before the test. You don’t want to eat or drink anything other than water anywhere from 9 to 12 hours before a test is performed. Take any necessary medicines on the morning of testing. Don’t consume fatty foods or drink alcohol or exercise before the test, as it may affect any results from the food you may have eaten before the testing begins.
A lipid panel blood test gives outcomes for different lipids
• Total cholesterol level – measures all cholesterol in lipoprotein particles
• Low-density lipoprotein Cholesterol level – measures LDL- bad cholesterol
• High-density lipoprotein Cholesterol level – measures HDL – good cholesterol
• Triglycerides level – most common type of fat in the body
Other measurements that may be performed with a lipid panel include:
• Very-low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
• Ratio of total cholesterol to HDL
• Ratio of LDL to HDL
There are lipid panels that provide more comprehensive information, such as the appearance of different sizes of fat particles found in the blood. Researchers are trying to determine what relation these fat substances have to heart disease. Presently, there are no standard guidelines on this issue and whether higher-level testing is needed to make further decisions.
Cholesterol Testing Results:
Total cholesterol readings
• 200 milligrams or less is a normal reading
• 201 to 240 is marginal
• More than 240 is high
For HDL or good cholesterol (higher figures are better)
• 60 or higher is good – protective level for heart disease
• 40 to 59 is satisfactory
• Less than 40 is low – impacting your chance of heart disease
For LDL or bad cholesterol (lower figures are better)
• Less than 100 is a normal reading
• 100 to 129 – can be a good reading depending on your health
• 130 to 159 is borderline high
• 160 to 189 is high
• 190 or more is much too high
When health care providers find that you have problems and a lipid disorder, they will put a treatment plan in place to help you lower the lipids in your blood. The first thing to do is alter your lifestyle. You want to lessen your chances of getting heart disease and related illnesses, or controlling it if you have heart disease or diseases associated with lipids in the blood.
Total treatment could consist of changes in
• your diet – a diet that lowers cholesterol
• exercise – aerobic exercises such as walking, bicycling, swimming or running) activities
• weight loss – exclude saturated fat, avoid fried foods, eat fish, whole grains, nuts, fruit, vegetables, unsaturated fats and consume smaller servings to lose weight and lower cholesterol levels
• medicines – you may need prescription medicine to lower your cholesterol levels
With high cholesterol treatment, it’s recommended that cholesterol testing be scheduled every 5 years, particularly if your lipid testing outcomes aren’t what you or your health provider expected. If you’re concerned with coronary heart disease and the other diseases associated with high cholesterol such as elevated stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, you’ll want to be tested more often.
Should you need further information concerning lipid panel testing, or want to make an appointment, we can help. Give us a call at 205-352-9141 and we’ll answer any of your questions or schedule an appointment.