Lipid profiles are used as part of a cardiac assessment to help determine if you are at risk of heart disease and as a guideline for the best treatment if your results are borderline or high risk. The body uses cholesterol to help build cells and generate hormones. If too much cholesterol is in the blood, it can build up inside your arteries, forming what is known as plaque. Large amounts of plaque can increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.
How do I prepare for a lipid profile test?
You will be asked to fast, consuming no food or liquids other than water, for nine to 12 hours before the test. You can drink water, but please avoid coffee, tea and other beverages. A simple finger stick test will give us the information we need to assess your risk.
Some drugs are known to increase cholesterol levels, including oral contraceptives, beta blockers, anabolic steroids, epinephrine, and vitamin D. Please let us know all drugs and supplements you’re taking.
HDL: The beneficial kind.
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) helps eliminate fat from the body by binding with it in the bloodstream and transporting it back to the liver for removal. This is usually called “good” cholesterol.
LDL: The unhealthy kind.
LDL (low-density lipoprotein) transfers mostly fat and a small amount of protein from the liver to other parts of the body. It is often referred to as “bad cholesterol.” If your LDL cholesterol level is high, this may increase your chances of developing heart disease.
Found in small amounts in the blood, triglycerides are a type of fat the body uses to store energy and give energy to muscles.
What’s your lipid profile total?
The results of the lipid profile are considered along with other known risk factors of heart disease to develop a plan of action and follow-up. The report will include additional computed values such as HDL/Total Cholesterol Ratio or a risk score based on lipid profile results and other risk factors. Some other risk factors are:
- Men over 45 or women over 55
- Family history of high cholesterol or heart disease
- High-fat diet
- Physically inactive
If your lipid panel test results are not in the normal range, there are things you can do to lower your risk. Some lifestyle changes you can make to reduce heart disease risk are:
- Alter your diet. By eating less saturated fat (7% of total calories or less) and cholesterol (200 mg or less daily), you can lower LDL cholesterol.
- Exercise regularly. Regular aerobic exercise can increase good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL).
- Medication is an option. If diet and exercise don’t make any difference, treatment with medication may be needed.
You may discuss with Dr. Fenster how often you should have a cholesterol test if your levels are abnormal. Also, if you have a strong family history of early onset heart disease, we may want to test other risk factors, such as lipoproteins, that are outside of the standard cholesterol profile.
The test will be performed right in Dr. Fenster’s office:
Cardiac Institute of the Palm Beaches, PA
3355 Burns Road
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
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