All you need to know about your lipid profile
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule in 2014 that allows patients or their representatives direct access to laboratory test reports after having their identities verified, without the need to have the tests sent to a health practitioner first. This rule is intended to empower you, to allow you to act as a partner with your healthcare provider and take a more active role in your healthcare decisions.
Patients who want to can still get their test results from their health practitioners and patients should still look to them as the ultimate informed partner for understanding test results and providing treatment options.
One fine day you get a call from your doctor to set up your appointment to discuss your latest lipid profile. You are terrified and don’t know what to expect.
Now you don’t have to be terrified, intact be completely prepared and may even be better informed than your doctor.
The description below will help you understand all you need to know about your lipid profile results. Best would be to have a copy of your latest results with you to understand each and every test and its significance. You may not find every test in your lab report. In case you do not you can have your doctor order the rest next time.
In general, doctors recommend that you try to keep this number under 200 mg/dL. Levels over 200 mg/dL –
depending on the breakdown of LDL versus HDL – may mean you are at higher risk for heart disease.
Having a total cholesterol level over 240 mg/dL approximately doubles the risk of heart disease.
An estimate of all the cholesterol in the blood (good HDL plus bad LDL, for example).
Thus, a higher total cholesterol may be due to high levels of HDL, which is good, or high levels of LDL, which is bad. So knowing the breakdown is important.
Cholesterol is a type of fat, found in your blood. It is produced by your body and also comes from the foods you eat (animal products). Cholesterol is needed by your body to maintain the health of your cells. Too much cholesterol leads to coronary artery disease. Your blood cholesterol level is related to the foods you eat or to genetic conditions (passed down from other generations of family members).
Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL
Borderline high: 200-239 mg/dL
High: Over 240 mg/dL
Less than 200 mg/dl is desirable in normal persons. Any thing more than 240 is high risk for various heart diseases including Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. The blood level of this type of fat is most affected by the foods you eat (such as sugar, fat or alcohol) but can also be high due to being overweight, having thyroid or liver disease and genetic conditions. High levels of triglycerides are related to a higher risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
Less than 150 mg/dl is desirable in normal persons. More than 200 is high risk for diabetes, blood vessel diseases.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL):
Good cholesterol that helps protect against heart disease.
HDL is a lipoprotein (a combination of fat and protein) found in the blood. It is called “good” cholesterol because it removes excess cholesterol from the blood and takes it to the liver. A high HDL level is related to lower risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
Values more than 60 mg/dl are desirable for normal persons. Less than 35 are high risk for heart and blood vessel diseases.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL):
Bad cholesterol and a major contributor to clogged arteries. LDL is a lipoprotein (a combination of fat and protein) found in the blood. It is called “bad” cholesterol because it picks up cholesterol from the blood and takes it to the cells. A high LDL level is related to a higher risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
Values less than 130 mg/dl are desirable in normal persons. More than 189 are linked with increased risk of heart and blood vessel diseases including CAD, Heart Failure.
Ratios below are a better predictor of heart disease or blood vessel disease than plain old way of calculating Total Cholesterol or LDL (bad) Cholesterol.
Total cholesterol to HDL ratio:
The amount of total cholesterol divided by HDL. This number is useful to predict the risk of developing atherosclerosis (plaque build-up inside the arteries).
Ratio less than 3.5-to-1 is desirable. Higher ratio implies a higher risk of heart disease.
Total cholesterol to NON-HDL ratio:
Amount of HDL Cholesterol subtracted from Total Cholesterol, thus reflecting LDL (bad) Cholesterol.
Less than 130 mg/dl is desirable in normal persons. Higher numbers imply a higher risk of heart disease.
Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL):
VLDL is one of the three main types of lipoproteins. VLDL contains the highest amount of triglycerides. VLDL is a type of “bad cholesterol” because it helps cholesterol build up on the walls of arteries.
VLDL level between 2 and 30 is desirable in normal persons. Higher levels imply a higher risk for heart disease and stroke.
There is no direct way of measuring VLDL. Most labs estimate your VLDL based on your triglycerides level. It is about one fifth of your triglycerides level. This estimate is less accurate if your triglycerides level is above 400 mg/dL.
If you have noticed the lipid profile above is affected by the way you eat and digest your food. Dietscienceleader helps you attain your desirable lab numbers thus transforming your life in a way you never imagined before.
Contributed by Dr. Kalra