Lipid Panel Blood Test
The Lipid Panel Blood Test measures the amount of cholesterol and specific fats in the blood to screen for cardiovascular disease.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in all the body's cells. The body requires cholesterol to produce hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help digestion. So the body makes all the cholesterol it needs. In addition, cholesterol is also obtained from foods like egg yolks, meat, and cheese. However, excessive amounts of cholesterol cause build-up in the blood vessels and artery walls, damaging them and increasing the risk of problems like heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. Therefore, routine cholesterol screening using lipid panels helps evaluate heart health.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this Total Cholesterol Blood Test to measure the sum of good and bad cholesterol and help assess the risk of cardiovascular disease. The lipid panel is the most commonly used test to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
The Lipid Panel measures different types of fats in a blood sample, such as:
- Cholesterol, Total - A measurement used to assess heart health. Cholesterol is required by your body to build healthy cells, but high cholesterol levels can increase your risk of heart disease.
- Triglycerides - Surplus fats transported in the bloodstream and provide energy to the body.
- HDL Cholesterol - High-density lipoproteins, or "good" cholesterol, take cholesterol away from the cells and transport it back to the liver for removal or processing.
- LDL Cholesterol - Low-density lipoproteins (calculation), or "bad" cholesterol, contain the highest percentage of cholesterol and are responsible for depositing cholesterol on the artery walls.
- VLDL Cholesterol - contains the highest amount of triglycerides. VLDL is a type of "bad cholesterol" because it helps cholesterol build up on the walls of arteries.
The Lipid Panel Blood Test may also be used to:
- Monitor individuals with a high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).
- Diagnose certain underlying health conditions.
- Monitor treatment effectiveness in reducing cardiovascular disease risk.
What can increase my risk of high cholesterol?
Several health conditions or factors may increase the risk of high cholesterol. For example, individuals meeting one or more of the following factors have an increased risk of high cholesterol and potentially CVD:
- Being over 45 years old for men and over 50-55 for women
- Previous high cholesterol levels
- History of cardiovascular problems
- Unhealthy diet
- Sedentary lifestyle
- High blood pressure
- Family history of heart disease at an early age (under 55 in men and under 65 in women)
- Diabetes or prediabetes
When should I order a Lipid Panel Blood Test?
Individuals may order this test if they have an increased cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. Common signs or symptoms of CVD include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Heart attack or stroke
- Irregular heartbeats or palpitations
- Swollen legs, ankles, or feet
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