Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
Lipids also known as fats, play an indispensable role in our body.
Lipids are a group of biological molecules which include fats, oils and some steroids. They are made from fatty acids, which are bonded to a wide range of other compounds. Lipids are also known as hydrophobic molecules, as almost all are insoluble in water. They are so called because they are repelled by water.
Lipids are present in our blood and tissues and they are used as energy our body. If the lipid levels in our body become too high and unbalanced, then they can build up in the artery walls to form plaque. Lipid deposition can obstruct the blood flow through the arteries and can also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke risks.
If your doctor or you are worried about your cholesterol, then you need to have lipid blood test done.
Lipid profile (including cholesterol and triglycerides) test is the blood tests which are performed to measure the total amount of fatty substances in the blood. This test measures the total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides. Let’s have a detailed insight into each parameter and how it impacts your health.
Cholesterol is vital for the synthesis of steroid hormones and bile. It is an essential component of cell membranes. Our body gets cholesterol from our diet and if the body is not able to make it, then the liver will make it.
Too much of cholesterol in the blood can build up inside the arteries, forming a layer of plaque. Large amounts of plaque increases the chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
Total cholesterol less than 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is considered normal for adults. Levles between 200 and 239 mg/dL are considered borderline high and a reading above 240 mg/dL is considered high.
HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) is also called as the “good” cholesterol. It helps in removing excess cholesterol deposits from the arterial lining. Higher levels of HDL can reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease.
HDL levels should be kept higher. A reading of less than 40 mg/dL increases the risk factor for heart disease. A reading from 41 mg/dL to 59 mg/dL is considered borderline low, whereas HDL levels of 60 mg/dL or higher is considered ideal for adults.
LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) is known as “bad” cholesterol. It mostly carries fat and only a small amount of protein from the liver to other parts of the body. An elevated level of LDL can increase the chances of developing heart disease. An elevated LDL levels can be the result of inactivity, obesity, and type II diabetes.
LDL cholesterol levels should be less than 100 mg/dL in adults. Levels of 100 to 129 mg/dL are acceptable for people with no health issues, but may be of more concern for those with heart disease or heart disease risk factors. A reading of 130 to 159 mg/dL is borderline high and 160 to 189 mg/dL is high. A reading of 190 mg/dL or higher is considered very high.
Triglycerides are the fats which are absorbed in the blood, followed by a meal or by the liver in response to diets rich in sugars, refined carbohydrates, or fats. Only a small amount of triglycerides is present in the blood.
Desirable range of triglycerides is 30 – 149 mg/dL. Borderline levels are between 150-200 mg/dL. Levels greater than 200 mg/dl are considered high.
A high triglyceride level along with high LDL cholesterol can increase the chances of having heart disease more than having only a high LDL cholesterol level.
Very Low Density Lipids are made in the liver, chiefly from the dietary triglycerides. VLDL is considered a type of bad cholesterol, because it helps cholesterol build up on the walls of arteries. It contains the highest amount of triglycerides. Normal VLDL levels are from 0 to 40 mg/dL.
There is no way to measure the VLDL, so they are usually estimated by the percentage of triglycerides.
LDL: HDL ratio is very vital as both the LDL an HDL are critical in predicting the cardiovascular risk. Desirable range for this ratio is below 5:1
Importance of cholesterol test
As we age, we are at high risk of developing heart risk diseases. So, it is important to get your cholesterol checked. A lipid profile test or cholesterol test is advisable when you:
- Have a family history of high cholesterol or heart attacks
- Are overweight or obese
- Are physically inactive or have a sedentary lifestyle
- Are diabetic
- Eat a high-fat diet
- Smoke Cigarette
- Are a man older than 45 or a woman older than 55
How to prepare for cholesterol test / lipid profile test
Getting your lipid profile test is very important. For this the person is required to fast, i.e. consuming no solid food or liquid other than water for 9 to 12 hours before the blood test
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