Lipid profiles are blood tests that are used to measure the total cholesterol and triglyceride level of an individual. The test provides detailed information on the amount of good and bad cholesterol that is present in the system. Data obtained from the test can assist the physician in recommending lifestyle changes to bring the levels back into an acceptable range and thus decrease the chances of heart attacks and strokes.
A lipid profile is possible because of the activity of lipids in the bloodstream. Essentially, lipids will adhere to proteins found in the system, creating what is known as lipoproteins. The lipid test helps to not only identify the total lipoprotein content in the blood, but also breaks down the components of the lipids in order to determine how much of each element is present.
When testing indicates a normal lipid profile, that means the overall level of triglycerides is within an acceptable range. The HDL or good cholesterol is within a range that is appropriate for the age and gender of the patient. At the same time, the LDL or bad cholesterol is not high enough to represent a health threat. Many test results will also included a VLDL cholesterol ratio as part of the final data.
Depending on the circumstances, the physician may request that a patient refrain from consuming any food for several hours before drawing the blood for the lipid profile test. This fasting lipid profile may be helpful, in that the panel results will be free of the presence of chlyomicrons in the blood sample.
Once the results of the testing are completed, the physician can go over the lipid profile results with the patient. This can include noting any returns that have shown improvement since the last test, what readings are now showing within normal limits, and what components are still not within a healthy range. For example, if the physician notes that the level of good cholesterol is low, he or she may recommend increased exercise to stimulate the production of more HDL cholesterol in the body. At the same time, the physician may choose to recommend dietary changes or prescribe medication to help lower bad cholesterol levels.
Having a lipid profile done from time to time and making the effort to go over the lipid profile values with your doctor can make it possible to detect some health issues early on and prevent them from escalating into more serious problems. Taking the results into consideration to design a healthy diet and exercise program, as well as making other healthy changes in lifestyle, can add years to your life.