The Lipid Panel or Lipid Test is a blood test that measures your total cholesterol – that is the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, and the triglycerides (a type of fat found in your blood) present in your blood. Before understanding the importance of the Lipid Test, it is more important to understand what cholesterol is and why high levels of it is bad for you.What is Cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance, and at normal levels is essential for bodily functions such as contributing to the structure of cell walls, allowing the body to produce vitamin D, making up digestive bile acids in the intestine and enabling the body to make certain hormones. When the cholesterol levels shoot up, it can become a silent danger that puts you at a risk of many severe diseases including, heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease.
Cholesterol is carried in the blood attached to proteins called lipoproteins. There are two main forms,
The main causes of high levels of cholesterol are:
As mentioned previously, it is a blood test that measures the total cholesterol in your body. A small sample of blood is taken from your arm and then analyzed in a laboratory. The HDL, LDL, and triglycerides are measured in the blood stream. Triglyceride levels and the amount of LDL are affected most by what you have recently eaten and thus, no food should be consumed 4-6 hours prior to getting a lipid panel test. However, if you are not fasting, the value of HDL and total cholesterol will be used.
Doctors’ guidelines state that men and women over the age of 20 should definitely get their cholesterol level checked. And it is indeed compulsory, especially if there is a history of cholesterol problem/heart disease. Getting the test done once a year should suffice, even if you’re healthy. Knowing your cholesterol levels can certainly help you lead a healthier and longer life.