Extremely useful in assessing cardiovascular health (cholesterol and triglycerides levels), a lipid profile test is also known as a lipid panel test or a cholesterol test. It is a group of blood tests taken to measure the lipids (fats) stored in our blood and tissues while screening for the presence of coronary diseases or a person’s risk of the same.
Typically, the panel measures four types of fat in the body. They are:
1. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) – Good cholesterol.
2. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) – Bad cholesterol.
3. Total body cholesterol – That is, HDL-C + LDL-C.
4. Triglycerides – The result of excess calories consumed that are not useful to the body.
Why the test is important
Given that high cholesterol indicates possible coronary disease, a lipid profile test on adults or children can reveal fatty deposits and build ups throughout the body.
Consequently, the test helps gauge a person’s risk of heart diseases, ensuring patients begin taking preventive steps immediately.
The test begins with a blood sample drawn from a patient who has been advised not to eat in the 9 -12 hours preceding the test. The blood sample is then analysed to determine the levels of the four types of fats listed above, and results can take anywhere from a day or two to be ready, depending on the place of the test.
However, note that at AML, results are always out within 4-6 hours.
Who should book a lipid profile test?
You should carry out a panel test if:
- You are at risk of cardiovascular diseases. Maybe as a result of genes, age, race or lifestyle habits.
- A previous cholesterol test of yours came back high.
- You suffer from any health condition that affects lipid levels, e.g. hypothyroidism, kidney and pancreatic diseases.
- You have diabetes.
- You have a history of heart attacks.
- You are interested in maintaining and monitoring your health.
What happens if my cholesterol result is low?
Low cholesterol is as much a health concern as high cholesterol. It can be a symptom of health problems like anaemia, liver diseases, or even cancer.
Therefore, based on their diagnosis, your doctor may recommend extra tests or a diet rich in healthy fats if your cholesterol is low.
What happens if my cholesterol result is high?
Should your cholesterol numbers be outside the normal range, your doctor will consider your health history to either request more tests or advise on possible disease risks and lifestyle changes.
Does this mean if my cholesterol is within the normal range, I can never suffer a heart attack or disease?
People with normal cholesterol suffer heart diseases, just like those with high cholesterol might never suffer any heart disease or attack.
Regardless, please note that the percentage is meagre in the latter case, thus the need to keep our cholesterol within the normal range.
What can I do about an abnormal result?
To increase your HDL cholesterol or maintain healthy overall body fat, do the following:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eliminate excess trans and saturated fats from your diet.
- Quit smoking.
- Consume more protein and healthy fats.
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants and vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K.
- Consume alcohol in moderation.
- Use medications as prescribed by a doctor.
Can AML carry out my lipid profile test?
Yes, you can also walk into any of our laboratory centres for your immediate test needs or call us on 016291000 with all your enquiries.