What is a lipid profile test?

September 23, 2022

What is a lipid profile test?
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A lipid panel test counts the number of specific fat molecules, or lipids, in your blood. Regular monitoring is suggested. The panel typically includes four different cholesterol measurements and a triglyceride test.

Triglycerides and cholesterol are lipids, or fats. These fats are crucial for cell function but can be dangerous when they accumulate in the blood. Atherosclerosis, a disorder marked by clogged, inflamed arteries, can occasionally result from them. If the arteries in your heart muscle are impacted, this could prevent your heart from functioning normally.

Types of lipid tests in a lipid panel

  • Total cholesterol is the sum of your LDL-C, VLDL-C, and HDL-C levels.
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: This is known as “bad cholesterol.” It can build up in your blood vessels and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol: This type of cholesterol is usually present in meagre amounts in fasting blood samples because it is mainly derived from the food you’ve recently eaten. An increase in this type of cholesterol in a fasting sample could indicate abnormal lipid metabolism.

For whom is a lipid profile test recommended?

A lipid profile test is recommended for anyone with a family history of heart disease or stroke. If your doctor determines that you are at risk for heart disease, you might also undergo this test. These are danger signs:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Diabetes or pre-diabetes
  • Obesity or excessive weight
  • Smoking
  • Inadequate exercise
  • Unhealthy food intake
  • Stress
  • Elevated total cholesterol

Some of the other tests that might have to be taken along with this one include:

  • Your heart’s electrical impulses are tested during an electrocardiogram, or ECG, to see whether they are beating normally.
  • Exercise may be required during a stress test while your ECG is monitored.
  • Using sound waves, an echocardiogram can visualize your heart.
  • Catheterisation of the heart. A medical professional inserts a tube into your blood vessels and injects dye to do this test. Then, X-rays are taken to check for obstructions in the heart’s arteries.

Additionally, your doctor can request tests for diabetes, high blood pressure, or glucose.

The testing process could impact the test results, including age, gender, medical history, and other variables. On the other hand, your test findings might not indicate a problem with you. Find out what your test findings mean for you by asking your healthcare provider.

Results are presented in mg/dL or milligrams per deciliter. The following are the ranges for adults’ total cholesterol:

  • Less than 200 mg/dL is normal.
  • High-risk range: 200 to 239 mg/dL
  • High: 240 mg/dL or more

The LDL cholesterol ranges for adults are as follows:

  • Under 100 mg/dL is ideal. (This is the goal for people with diabetes or heart disease.)
  • About ideal: 100 to 129 mg/dL
  • High-risk range: 130 to 159 mg/dL
  • Excellent: 160 to 189 mg/dL
  • Extremely high: 190 mg/dL or more

Since specific targets depend on how many heart disease risk factors you have, the numbers above should only be used as general guides.

You should have an HDL cholesterol level of at least 40 mg/dL. This fat reduces your risk of heart disease; you are protected against heart disease at 60 mg/dL or higher.

An increased risk of heart disease is associated with high triglyceride levels. The adult ranges are as follows:

  • Less than 150 mg/dL is normal.
  • High-risk range: 150 to 199 mg/dL
  • Exceptional: 200 to 499 mg/dL
  • High: greater than 500 mg/dL

Based on your test findings, your healthcare professional will determine whether you need medication or lifestyle adjustments to lower your cholesterol.

Your age and health will affect your performance and goals. For example, you run an increased chance of developing heart disease if you have high blood pressure or diabetes. You might need to take medication to reduce your triglyceride and cholesterol levels further.

Who performs a lipid profile test?

Blood draws, including those for a lipid panel, are often carried out by a healthcare professional known as a phlebotomist. However, any healthcare professional who has received training in blood drawing can carry out this task. The provider subsequently delivers the samples to a lab, where a medical laboratory scientist prepares them and does the necessary tests on analysers.

Is fasting required for a lipid profile test?

Before a lipid panel blood test, you must go 10 to 12 hours without eating or drinking. The only liquid consumed during a fast is water. However, receiving a lipid panel test without fasting is occasionally feasible.

In any event, you must inquire with your doctor whether you are required to fast before the test. Always abide by the advice given to you by your provider. Please inform your provider if you mistakenly eat something after being ordered too fast, because doing so will make the test less accurate.

Risk factors in the test

A blood test involving a needle entails various dangers. These include bruising, bleeding, infections, and dizziness. In addition, you could feel a slight sting or pain when the needle prickles your arm or hand. After that, there can be pain in the area.

The aftermath of the test

Your outcomes may be impacted by being ill or under stress and using particular medications. Your lipid profile can also be affected by what you eat, how frequently you exercise, and if you smoke.


1. How do you control abnormal lipids?

  • Reduce your consumption of saturated and trans fats.
  • Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat consumption should be increased.
  • Take daily doses of soluble fibre.
  • Limit your intake of intense sugars.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake.
  • Increase your level of exercise to lose weight.

2. For whom is a lipid profile test prescribed?

A lipid profile test is frequently included in a standard physical checkup. This is so that people can learn about it and use it to avoid many other illnesses. In addition, it is a crucial factor in diagnosing different diseases. This lipid profile value also accounts for the outcomes of lifestyle changes and other adjustments; for instance, a difference in the lipid profile can show if a diet plan was successful or if the medication was beneficial.

Regardless of whether an individual has an underlying heart issue, it is recommended that people monitor their lipid profile levels regularly. A fasting lipid profile test should be performed at least once a year. Children aged 9 to 11 should also have a single test. The exam may be administered once again between 17 and 21. Naturally, more frequent monitoring will be advised if the test results are abnormal.

HDL, or the good cholesterol, should be elevated, and LDL, or the bad cholesterol, should be low. A deviation from this is frequently a sign of many other health issues.

3. Why should one get tested for a lipid profile test?

The fatty compounds that circulate in the blood and are deposited in tissues are known as lipids. They originate from the meals you eat and how your body produces them.

They serve as a source of energy for the body. While lipids are necessary for the body to operate normally, lipid abnormalities, including excessive cholesterol, high LDL, and low HDL, can result in life-threatening illnesses, such as heart attacks, strokes, coronary artery disease, etc. Unfortunately, none of these anomalies shows any symptoms or early warning indications. Therefore, routine lipid profile examinations are emphasised for everyone, particularly for a high-risk group.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.



Department of Cardiology

Department of Cardiology

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