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Lipid Profile - P00048

Lipids are fats and fat like substances which are found in our body and act as an important source of energy to the cells in our body. In normal amounts lipids are beneficial, but when the levels increase it can pose a threat to your health in more ways than one.

The basic lipid test will help your doctor measure the levels of various types of fat in your blood, including Total Cholesterol, LDL (also called low density lipoprotein and is thought to be the bad form of cholesterol), HDL (also called high density lipoprotein and is thought to be the good form of cholesterol) and Triglycerides.

When your doctor suspects that you might be having high levels of lipids in your body, or if you are an individual at high risk of suffering from heart disease, then your doctor will want to have you undergo this test. The lipid profile is also routinely done for those patients who have already been diagnosed with high levels of lipids in their body, to monitor the control with medication.

A complete lipid profile requires that you fast (that is not eat or drink anything, except water) for a period of 8-10 hours before you undergo this test. Since there are some tests which do not require a period of fasting, if there is any other specific preparations you have to make, your healthcare provider will inform you about it.

During this, a Medical Lab Technician will draw out a small volume of blood, using a needle and syringe which is inserted into a vein in your arm. This blood sample is then sent to the lab for analysis.

Since this test is a simple drawing of blood, you will not feel a lot of discomfort. You might experience a mild pain on inserting the needle, but you will not experience any uneasiness afterwards.

There is very little risk in undergoing a lipid profile test, because it is a simple blood drawing. Very rarely you might continue to have a mild pain or some swelling at the site where the needle was inserted, but these symptoms will resolve on their own within a couple of days.

Since the lipid profile gives you a measure of different types of fats in the body, each of the levels have to be evaluated carefully. Your target values should be as follows:
• Total Cholesterol - 75-169 mg/dL for individuals at the age of 20 and below. 100-199 mg/dL for those over age 21
• LDL – should be less than 70 mg/dL for those with very high risk of heart disease. Less than 130 mg/dL for individuals who are at low risk for coronary artery disease
• HDL – should be greater than 40 mg/dL, since this is considered the healthy form of cholesterol
• Triglycerides – should be less than 150 mg/dl

Lifestyle factors play an important role in determining the level of lipids in your body. Dietary habits as well as exercise are two of the most important aspects in this regard.