A lipid refers to cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. A lipid profile is a type of blood test which measures the levels of cholesterol (good and bad) and fats in the body. The fats mentioned here refer to triglycerides. A lipid profile test determines the risk and identifies the presence of potential fatty deposits called plaques present within the arteries which can eventually affect your overall health and in the long run may, in fact, cause artery blockage.
There are many reasons for a person to have high levels of cholesterol. A person who indulges in a contemporary lifestyle that involves the consumption of alcohol, junk food, smoking a lot of cigarettes, and highly processed meat regularly.
What are the different names for a lipid profile?
There are various names for lipid profiles:
- Lipid test
- Cholesterol panel
- Coronary risk panel
- Lipid panel
Why is it required?
When the human body has too many lipids, it can lead to a buildup in the arteries which increases the chances of cardiovascular problems. A lipid profile test assesses the risk of individuals developing heart diseases and monitors the treatment of an ongoing heart ailment.
The lipid profile test measures the following:
It refers to the total amount of cholesterol in the body
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
Called bad cholesterol and leads to a buildup of fatty deposits which ultimately block blood flow.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
Called good cholesterol and ensure the smooth flow of LDL cholesterol ensuring that no blockages occur in the arteries.
They are the fats stored in the body. When an individual consumes any type of food, the human body converts the calories it doesn’t need into triglycerides These triglycerides are stored in fat cells.
Who needs it?
It is recommended to get the lipid profile test done if you fall under any of the following categories:
- If you are obese or overweight
- People who have a history related to high cholesterol issues and heart conditions like heart attack need to get a test done
- If you find yourself physically inactive
- Have an unhealthy diet that involves fatty foods and oils
- If you have a habit of smoking cigarettes
A lipid profile is indicative of a possible heart condition and also to keep a track of the intake of food.
How often does a person need to get it done?
- According to a study by NHLBI [The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute], an individual’s cholesterol screening must be initiated at a very young age [preferably between 9 and 11 years of age] and then the process must be repeated after a span of 5 years.
- However, these screenings need to happen on a frequency of 1 to 2 years for men aged between 45 and 65. The screenings need to happen at a frequency of 1 to 2 years for women aged between 55 to 65.
- For elderly persons above the age of 65, annual screening is necessary.
- In the case where your initial test revealed abnormal readings, it is necessary to get frequent testing done
What are the requirements for the test?
In most cases, a person is expected to undergo fasting anywhere between 10 to 12 hours. A person is expected to consume clear fluids like water. It is advised that liquids like tea, coffee, and other beverages are not to be consumed during this fasting phase.
However, there are exceptions and that would have to be spoken with a healthcare worker for more details. In the case where people are diabetic, it is best to consult your doctor beforehand on the diet to be followed during the fasting phase.
What does a lipid profile indicate?
A lipid profile indicates the levels of the different types of cholesterols and triglycerides in the body. These levels provide you with very essential information. If the levels are high, it is necessary to bring them down to the optimal levels. Upon receiving your lipid profile results, you must consult a doctor to make sense of the readings provided and discuss how you can bring those readings into control.
A lipid profile is an important test that needs to be done when you notice the mentioned symptoms or if there are clear indicators such as heredity or inactive livelihood or an unhealthy diet. You must consult your doctor before the test as they will provide the instructions to be followed before the test and the steps to be followed post-completion of the test.
The test results indicate important details, and one must frequently get their test done to prevent any mishaps from happening. Being mindful of your diet will go a long way in maintaining your health.
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