A lipid profile is used to measure the levels of specific lipids in the blood. Such lipids include LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL). The blood levels of these lipids are very important in assessing the overall risk of heart disease and stroke in an individual and planning treatment.
Why is the test ordered?
A lipid profile is helpful in determining a person's risk of developing heart disease and therefore it may be ordered as part of heart disease risk assessment. In addition, it is also helpful in making decisions pertaining to treatment based on the risks involved.
When is the test recommended?
A Lipid profile may be ordered if the screening cholesterol test result is high. The test is recommended to assess the risk of developing heart disease in individuals who are at risk owing to these high risk factors:
Age (45 plus males and 55 plus females)
Family history of heart disease
High blood pressure
Pre-existing heart disease
A lipid profile test may also be ordered to determine the effectiveness of drug therapy and lipid-lowering measures.
How to prepare for the test?
During chronic or acute illness and even after surgery, trauma and any other illness or after a heart attack, it is better to wait up to a month or so before planning the test. This is to ensure accurate results. It is better to inform to the doctor about all the medicines and supplements one is taking before taking the test.
How is the sample collected?
A blood sample is collected from a vein in the arm.