Measures total and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and also provides an estimate of LDL cholesterol.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL RESULTS AND INFORMATION PROVIDED BY HEALTH eLABS ARE INTENDED FOR GENERAL HEALTH INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY. AS SUCH THEY ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION, AND SHOULD NOT BE USED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, PREVENT OR CURE ANY DISEASE, SYNDROME, OR CONDITION WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION OF A LICENSED PHYSICIAN.
PREPARATION: For best results, please do not eat or drink anything except water for at least 8 hours before having this test.
What does this test do?
This panel measures the levels of total cholesterol subtypes as well as cholesterol subtypes and triglycerides (fatty acids) in the bloodstream.
Why is this important?
Cholesterol is an important molecule which is used to stabilize every cell membrane in the body. It also serves as a building block precursor for all the steroid hormones that humans make – from cortisone to estrogen to testosterone.
While some cholesterol is obtained from dietary sources, it is also produced by the body. And inherited disorders that manufacture abnormally high – or even low – levels of different cholesterol subtypes can lead to an increased risk of plaque buildup, arterial blockage, heart attack, and stroke.
What do the results mean?
Cholesterol doesn’t circulate in the bloodstream by itself. Instead, it is packaged into large transport molecules called lipoproteins. These lipoproteins come in different shapes, sizes, and densities.
This lipid panel checks the most significant of these, and is composed of the following subtypes:
Total Cholesterol: Measures the total amount of cholesterol circulating within the bloodstream. This can be a misleading value however, because a level that is higher than the upper limit of the normal range isn’t necessarily bad. On the contrary, a level that is lower than the upper limit of the normal range isn’t necessarily good, either, as plaque buildup is more dependent on the ratio of good to bad cholesterol subtypes.
As such, the total cholesterol value has limited usefulness in predicting the risk of vascular disease, heart attack, or stroke.
High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: HDL is the “good” cholesterol that helps keep arterial blockage from occurring by binding cholesterol from the lining of the blood vessels, then carrying it back to the liver to be recycled. A high level of HDL cholesterol can push the total cholesterol above the normal limit, but is nevertheless a positive – elevated HDL cholesterol levels are associated with a lower risk of developing heart attack, and stroke. Likewise, persistently low levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of developing plaque buildup, heart attack, and stroke.
Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: LDL is the “bad” type of cholesterol that deposits plaque inside the walls of the arteries and leads to blockage. Low levels of LDL aren’t dangerous, but high levels are – the higher the LDL concentration, the greater the risk of having a heart attack, or stroke.
NOTE: In this lipid panel test the LDL cholesterol value isn’t directly measured; rather it is calculated using a formula that takes into account the total cholesterol, the HDL component, and the triglycerides. If the triglycerides are too high then an accurate LDL value cannot be calculated, and the test result will reflect this.
Triglycerides are fat molecules in the blood stream. A high concentration of triglycerides can lead to fatty deposits and plaque formation in the walls of arteries (called “hardening of the arteries,” or atherosclerosis).