What is a Lipid Profile and what is it used for?

The tests for cholesterol (lipid panel).

The lipid profile or lipid panel is a blood test panel that serves as a comprehensive initial medical evaluation tool to detect abnormalities in lipids, such as cholesterol and triglycerides.

The results of this test can identify certain genetic diseases and can determine the risks for cardiovascular diseases, certain types of pancreatitis and other diseases.

Lipid panels are commonly classified as part of a physical examination, along with other panels such as the complete blood count (CBC) and the basic metabolic panel (MBP).

The lipid profile usually includes:

  • Low density lipoprotein (LDL).
  • High density lipoprotein (HDL).
  • The triglycerides.
  • Total cholesterol .

Using these values, a laboratory can also calculate:

  • Very low density lipoproteins (LMBD).
  • Cholesterol: HDL.

The lipid profile tests are of 7 types:

  • The total lipids.
  • Total serum cholesterol.
  • HDL cholesterol in serum.
  • HDL cholesterol / total cholesterol ratio.
  • Serum triglycerides.
  • The serum phospholipids.

Also electrophoretic fractionation to percentage determination of: chylomicrons, low density lipoproteins LDL-low, LMBD very low density, high density HDL

When is the lipid profile requested?

It is recommended that the test with the lipid profile in healthy adults without other risk factors for heart disease be carried out on an empty stomach, once from four to six years.

The initial evaluation may involve only a single test for total cholesterol and not a complete lipid profile. However, if the result of the cholesterol screening test is high, it is likely to be followed by a test with a lipid profile.

If other risk factors are present or if the previous test revealed a high cholesterol level, it is recommended to perform more frequent tests with a complete lipid profile.

The risk factors for high and low density cholesterol are:

  • Smoking cigarettes.
  • Age (men 45 years of age or older, women 50 to 55 years of age or older).
  • Low HDL cholesterol.
  • Hypertension (blood pressure of 140/90 or higher, or taking medications for high blood pressure).
  • The family history of premature heart disease.
  • Diabetes.

A lipid profile can also be requested at regular intervals to evaluate the success of lifestyle changes to reduce lipids, such as diet and exercise or to determine the effectiveness of therapy with medications such as statins.