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Lipid profile test is a panel of tests that determines the levels of fat molecules (cholesterol, triglycerides etc) in the blood. Lipid levels has a direct effect on the cardiovascular health of the person and is considered as an important risk factor for prediction of adverse events related to the heart. High levels of lipids circulating in the blood leads to build up of plaques inside the blood vessels (arteries), ultimately blocking the blood flow further when there is a complete blockage. If the distal organ is heart, then there is Heart attack or Myocardial Infarction. If the distal organ is brain, then there is stroke. 

Who should have the lipid profile test done?

  • Person with unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking 
  • Person who are obese and/or have a sedentary lifestyle
  • Person on a heart treatment
  • Person who are 35 years and above 
  • Person with a family history of lipid disorders
  • Person suffering from diabetes, kidney & liver diseases, endocrine disorders etc.


What does a lipid panel analyse?

A lipid panel analyses five types of lipid molecules from the blood sample:

  • Total cholesterol:  is the overall cholesterol level (the combination of LDL-C, VLDL-C, and HDL-C).
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol:  is the type of cholesterol that can collect in your blood vessels and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. It is known as “bad cholesterol.”
  • Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol: is a type of cholesterol which mostly comes from the food you’ve recently eaten. An increase in this type of cholesterol in a fasting sample (usually present in very low amounts) may be a sign of abnormal lipid metabolism. 
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: is the type of cholesterol which helps to decrease the build-up of LDL in the blood vessels. It is known as “good cholesterol.”
  • Triglycerides: is a type of fat derived from the fatty food that we eat. Excess amount of triglycerides in the blood is associated with cardiovascular disease and pancreatic inflammation.


What level is considered normal?

  • Cholesterol: up to 200 mg/dL
  • Triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dL 
  • HDL Cholesterol: 40-60 mg/dL
  • LDL Cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dL
  • VLDL Cholesterol: 0-30 mg/dL

Anything above this is considered as abnormal or excess and requires lifestyle modifications and exercise and/or medications to lower the lipids. If the levels are higher for long time, then the chance of cardiovascular risk exponentially increases.

Dr. Adithya S

Consultant Pathologist
MD Pathology