A lipid test can help determine the cholesterol levels in the body. A lipid panel blood test with total cholesterol is also called the cholesterol panel test or HDL cholesterol test. Cholesterol is essential in our body to digest fats and absorb nutrients. Our body uses cholesterol to produce bile acids, which help to digest fats. The liver in our body itself makes the cholesterol required for producing bile acids. Humans also intake cholesterol from animal-derived food items. Sometimes, the cholesterol levels in the body go beyond the normal range. High cholesterol levels can be life-threatening for a person.
When LDL (Low-density Lipoprotein) cholesterol is present in high amounts in the body, it clogs up the arteries. As a result, arteries responsible for supplying blood to the heart are clogged. As a result, the heart does not have access to oxygen present in the bloodstream. It is a dangerous scenario that can even lead to a heart attack.
If the density of HDL (High-density Lipoprotein) is less than average in the bloodstream, several problems can occur. Lower cholesterol levels in the body can be an indication of liver ailment, hyperthyroidism, malabsorption, and many other diseases/conditions. An individual needs to keep a tab on the current cholesterol levels in the body. To know the current cholesterol level in the human body, a lipid profile blood test is performed. Before we know the procedure for a lipid panel test, let us know the different types of cholesterol.
Types of Cholesterol in a Human Body
Not every cholesterol in the body is harmful. Some cholesterols help us in many ways. A lipid test denotes the LDL, HDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides in the body. Let us understand the types of cholesterol in detail:
- LDL is bad cholesterol which we do not need in our bodies. If the LDL amount is high in the body, the blood arteries that go to the heart get blocked. LDL and VLDL (Very-low-density Lipoprotein) together form the non-HDL in the body.
- HDL is the good cholesterol our body needs to remove LDL from the arteries. When the heart gets adequate blood supply, there are fewer chances of a heart attack.
- Total cholesterol is the sum of LDL and HDL in your body. Individuals should keep a tab on their total cholesterol levels in the body.
As discussed above, a lipid test report will showcase the amount of LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol in the body. Based on total cholesterol and HDL amount, the HDL ratio is determined. Besides all these, a lipid panel test will also showcase the number of triglycerides in the body. Triglycerides are not cholesterol; they are a type of fat present in the body. High triglycerides level in the body can open doors to coronary heart diseases. With the help of HDL ratio, triglycerides level, and non-HDL level, the risk for coronary heart disease is determined.
Procedure for a Lipid Profile Test
A complete lipid profile test checks the amount of HDL, non-HDL, and triglycerides in the body. Before taking a lipid profile test, the patient has to fast for at least nine hours. A patient can only drink water for 9 hours or more before taking a lipid test. Besides this condition, the patient should not consume high-fat food items the night before the lipid test. Patients are also advised to avoid alcohol before taking a lipid panel test.
Once the patient is ready, the lab technician will draw blood from the vein puncture. Once the sample is collected, it will take around 1-2 business days to generate the lipid test report. It is crucial to inform the lab technician about the existing medical condition before a lipid panel test. Inform the lab technician about existing medications and prescriptions. Overall, the lipid panel test is quick and only requires a small blood sample.
Understanding the Number Mentioned in a Lipid Profile
As discussed above, the lipid profile will consist of the total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and non-HDL levels in the body. All cholesterol levels in the body in a lipid profile are denoted in milligrams per decilitre of blood (mg/dL). Do you want to know the normal cholesterol levels in the body to cross-check your lipid profile? The normal cholesterol levels differ for children, men, and women. Normal cholesterol levels to cross-check your lipid profile are as follows:
- For young individuals below 19 years of age, the total cholesterol value should be below 170 mg/dL. Concurrently, non-HDL and LDL in the body should be less than 120 mg/dL and 100 mg/dL, respectively. It is crucial to note that the amount of HDL in young individuals should be more than 45 mg/dL.
- For male adults (more than 20 years), the total cholesterol normal range is between 125 mg/dL and 200 mg/dL. Concurrently, the limit for non-HDL and LDL in the body is 130 mg/dL and 100 mg/dL, respectively. Do not forget that the HDL in men should be more than 40 mg/dL to avoid the risk of coronary heart disease.
- For adult women (20 years and above), the total cholesterol should range between 125 mg/dL and 200 mg/dL. Concurrently, non-HDL and LDL in women should not be more than 130 mg/dL and 100 mg/dL, respectively. It is crucial to note that the HDL in adult women should be more than 50 mg/dL.
The triglyceride level in the body is also mentioned in the lipid profile report. Typically, the triglyceride level in the body is below 150 mg/dL. Someone having a high cholesterol level can have a triglyceride level of more than 160 mg/dL.
How Often Take a Lipid Panel Test?
Young people below nineteen years of age should opt for a lipid profile test every 1 or 2 years. Children having heart-related problems should start taking a lipid test from two years of age. Adults aged between 45 and 65 should take a lipid test once every two years. Take a lipid profile test to know your cholesterol and triglyceride levels!