What is a Lipid Test For

During your regular physical, the doctor may order a series of blood tests to have a better idea of your overall health. Your body may be experiencing issues that could lead to more serious health problems down the road without you having any physical symptoms. One of the tests the lab will run on your blood is a lipid panel. This is a test to measure the different levels of lipids in your blood or fats and fatty substances. Your body does need lipids in order to function properly; your brain uses it as a source of energy. The major lipids that are measured are cholesterols and triglycerides.

Traditional lipid test will measure:

* Total cholesterol (TC) - this is a sum of high density lipoproteins, low density lipoproteins, and triglycerides
* High density lipoprotein (HDL) - this is the healthy cholesterol that helps remove unhealthy cholesterol from the blood
* Low density lipoprotein (LDL) - this is the unhealthy cholesterol that is dangerous in high levels in the blood
* Triglycerides - these are the fats in the blood
Additional measurements the test may include are:
* Very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) - this is the dangerously unhealthy cholesterol
* Ratio of total cholesterol to HDL
* Ratio of LDL to HDL

You consume lipids through foods and your liver produces lipids. Your blood moves the lipids around your body and then the lipids are stored in tissues throughout your body. They are essential to proper cell function; so your body would not work normally without lipids. A lipid disorder like high cholesterol may not seem to be too problematic because it does not have immediate physical symptoms. But high cholesterol over time can lead to life threatening problems like coronary artery disease (CAD), heart attacks, and strokes.

Depending on your age and your family history, the doctor may order a lipid test as a part of your regular examination. The lipid test can help you take action to prevent more problematic conditions in the future, to diagnose a medical condition, or to monitor a previously diagnosed condition. The doctor will let you know how they want you to prepare for the blood test. In the event the doctor wants you to fast before the blood draw, then you should not eat or drink anything for 9 to 12 hours before the appointment. This includes everything except water so you should plan on having breakfast after your appointment and enjoy your coffee afterwards as well. In most cases, drinking water and taking your regular medications should have no effect on the results.

If you do not want to skew the results and want to get the most accurate levels as possible, do not eat a fatty meal the night before the appointment. Also, drinking alcohol and exercising strenuously can affect the results, so plan your work out for after the test.
When the doctor receives your lipid test results, the doctor may determine that you have a lipid disorder. The treatments to lower your blood lipid levels include medication, dietary changes, losing weight and consistent exercise.

Fasting and your Lipid Profile