Lipid/Cholesterol Test Panel Popular
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About Our Lipid/Cholesterol Test Panel
What does this panel test for?
This test looks at overall cholesterol levels and triglycerides (the main components of natural fats and oils). Lipids are various forms of fat in the body and include cholesterol types.
Specifically, you will see these measures in your results:
- Total Cholesterol: The total amount of cholesterol in your blood.
- LDL “Bad Cholesterol”: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, this is known as bad cholesterol because it can lead to a hardening and clogging of your arteries.
- HDL “Good cholesterol”: High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, this type of cholesterol helps to remove LDL from your blood.
- Triglycerides: Unused calories are stored by the body as triglycerides in fat (lipid) cells.
Why do a lipid panel?
Testing will help make sure your HDL and LDL levels are in a healthy range. The results will help determine your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD). If you’ve received high-risk levels previously, retaking the lipid panel can determine the progress of the treatment or damage.
The lipid panel cannot differentiate from one disease to another, but it does clearly alert your doctor that something is not right!
What do I do with the results?
The results will display how well your body is digesting food and how much fat was in its system. Depending on how high the levels are, you should take the results to your primary care physician so that the doctor can measure how high at risk you may be of a heart attack or stroke.
What are the normal ranges of my test results?
For total cholesterol:
- 2000 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or less is normal.
- 201 to 240 mg/dL is borderline
- More than 340 mg/dL is high
For HDL (“good cholesterol”), more is better.
- 60 mg/dL or higher is good -- it protects against heart disease
- 40-59 mg/dL is fine.
- Less than 40 mg/dL is low, raising your chance of heart disease.
For LDL (“bad cholesterol”), the lower the better.
- Less than 100 mg/dL is ideal
- 100 to 129 mg/dL can be good, depending on your health
- 130 to 159 mg/dL is borderline high
- 160 to 189 mg/dL is high
- 190 mg/dL or more is very high
How can you improve your test results?
Reducing cholesterol in your diet can bring down LDL by up to 30%. When your diet is low in saturated fat, which is 7% of total calories or less, and no more than 200mg of cholesterol per day, this can also lower LDL cholesterol. Another aspect of your diet that can change is how much fiber and plant sterols you consume. These can be found in special kinds of margarine and other foods.
Making a habit out of aerobic exercise can work great to improve your results and overall health. Activities like swimming, running, hiking, and more can both lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol, HDL.
Lastly, if modifying your exercise level or diet do not help enough, there are medications a doctor can prescribe for you.
What are the risk factors that increase your chances of unhealthy levels?
- Individuals who drink often
- Diabetics (also see our diabetes testing)
- Individuals with an underactive thyroid
- Overweight or obese individuals
- Individuals with a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease
- People who have kidney disease
How often should you take the lipid panel?
You should test regularly if you are monitoring high-risk levels, and/or to see how well treatment is going. If levels have not changed after treatment, then it is time to try another form of treatment.
If you have no risk factors present, adults should test every 4 to 6 years, youths between 9 and 11 years old and again when they’re between 17 and 21.
Fasting is required for this blood test. In the 9-12 hours before you have blood drawn, make sure you only have water (no alcohol). When you get to your lab technician, let them know if you have fasted or not. Youths (as long as they don’t have risk factors) do not have to fast for this test.