What is Lipid Profile?
Lipid profile is a group of blood tests that detects the levels of different types of lipids in the blood. Lipids are fatty substances that play an important role in a number of body functions. Apart from being structural components of the cells, Lipids also act as a source and mode of storage of energy for the body.
Why is Lipid Profile done?
· To screen for risk of cardiovascular diseases
· To monitor patients who have risk factors for cardiovascular diseases
· To monitor patients who have shown undesirable results in a previous Lipid Profile Test
· To monitor the efficacy of treatment of cardiovascular diseases
What does Lipid Profile Measure?
The Lipid Profile Test typically measures the levels of total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Other results that may be reported include VLDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio.
Lipids are fatty acids which store energy for the body and play essential roles in cellular structure and cell signaling. Cholesterols and triglycerides are essential lipids, carried in the blood by lipoprotein particles made up of cholesterol, triglycerides, proteins and phospholipid molecules. The lipoprotein particles are classified according to their densities into High Density Lipoproteins (HDL), Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL), and Very Low Density Lipoproteins (VLDL).
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance formed in the liver, as well as obtained from dietary sources. It is found in all the cells and is an essential part of the structural framework of the cells apart from performing various vital body processes. However, excess cholesterol is harmful. Increased cholesterol in blood can cause it to get deposited on the inner walls of the blood vessels forming plaque.
Triglycerides are the commonest type of fat in the body. Triglycerides are obtained from dietary sources and form the stored fat in adipose tissues. Increase in triglyceride concentration can also give rise to cardiovascular diseases.
High Density Lipoproteins or HDLs are high density particles which help to reduce the chances of cardiovascular diseases by picking up and carrying lipoprotein particles of lower density to the liver for disposal.
Low Density Lipoproteins or LDLs are lipoprotein particles of low density which carry cholesterol to the tissues. Cholesterol carried by LDLs easily comes out of blood and get deposited on the inner walls of the blood vessels, increasing the chances of cardiovascular diseases.
Very Low Density Lipoproteins or VLDLs are lipoprotein particles of very low density which carry triglycerides to the tissues. Excess triglycerides in blood causes increase in VLDL particles which in turn again increases the chance of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Plaque deposition makes the lumen of the blood vessels narrower thereby preventing proper flow of blood and may stop the flow completely. Excessive plaque deposition can also cause the arteries to harden, giving rise to a condition called Atherosclerosis. Improper flow of blood prevents the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the vital organs and may cause heart attack or stroke.
Interpreting Lipid Profile results
Higher than optimum levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, non-HDL cholesterol, and fasting triglycerides indicate an increased risk of plaque formation in the blood vessels (atherosclerosis) and cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, or stroke.
HDL cholesterol reduces the risk factors of development of cardiovascular diseases. In absence of other factors, higher the HDL levels in blood, lower is the chance of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Tests Included (5 tests)
- Cholesterol - Total
- Cholesterol - HDL
- Very Low Density Lipoprotein