Cholesterol

Cholesterol /Lipids Checkup

A Lipids checkup panel or lipid profile test is used to measure the level of cholesterol and other required or excessive fats in the human body. Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in body cells to make certain hormones vitamin D, and substances used in the digestion of food. Though a certain level of lipids checkup is essential in the human body, if necessary, limits are exceeded,

it can build up in human blood vessels, increasing the risk of;

  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Clogging or hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis)

The Centers for disease control and prevention (CDC) recommends that people must have lipids checkup check test in childhood and adulthood. After the age of twenty, it is highly recommended to have a Lipids checkup test every five years. 

Things measured in the Cholesterol test

In a complete cholesterol test, the levels of fats and lipids are measured in the blood. Overall, the cholesterol test measures the following things:

1. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol:

High-density lipoprotein cholesterol is considered as good lipids checkup in the human body because it is used to remove low-density cholesterol from the blood.

2.Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol:

This kind of cholesterol is considered as bad lipids checkup in the human body. If its limits are exceeded, it can buildup up the walls of arteries, which ultimately results in heart attack, heart stroke, and atherosclerosis.

3.Triglycerides:

The fats in food (humans take daily) are broken down into small molecules called triglycerides. If the triglycerides level becomes high in your food, it can increase the chance of developing cardiovascular disease. High levels of diabetes, excessive drinking of alcohol, having a high-calorie diet, and obesity are the primary reasons behind the increase in triglycerides.

4.Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL):

Very low-density lipoprotein is another kind of cholesterol present in blood that increases the chance of cardiovascular diseases. Usually, VLDL is not mentioned in cholesterol tests because it is not measured directly. Instead of that, the level of VLDL is calculated based on assumption that it is almost 20% of the triglyceride level. 

5.Total Cholesterol:

The total amount of cholesterol in the blood is calculated by taking the sum of LDL, HDL, and VLDL cholesterol. The levels measured directly are Total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol, while the remaining LDL and VLDL values are calculated based on the measurement of total cholesterol, HDL, and Triglycerides.

Normal range of Cholesterol

In the USA, cholesterol level in the human body is measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter of blood. While in Canada or many European countries, cholesterol levels are measured in millimoles per liter (mmo/L). The usual range of cholesterol in the human body is:

  • LDL must be less than 100mg/dL
  • Total cholesterol must be less than 200 mg/dL
  • Triglycerdies must be less than 150 mg/dL
  • HDL must fall between 40 to 60 mg/dL
  • VLDL must be less than 30mg/dL 

Who is required to conduct Cholesterol/Lipid Checkup?

It is highly recommended to have a cholesterol test every 4 to 6 years, and people in particular families with a history of high cholesterol must perform these tests more often. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a person’s first cholesterol test needs to be taken from the age of 9 to 11, and it is further repeated every five years. The NHLBI also recommends that it is essential to have a cholesterol test every 1 or 2 years for men between 45 to 65 years and women between 45 to 65 years, and for people above 65 years to have their cholesterol test on an annual basis. 

A cholesterol test is essential if you are/have:

  • Obese or overweight
  • Family history of high cholesterol and heart disease
  • Using excessive alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Having an inactive lifestyle
  • Diabetic
  • Having underactive thyroid glands, polycystic ovary syndrome, and problems with kidneys

Steps of Cholesterol Test

  • Preparation: You don’t need to have much preparation for this test. Fasting is required in many cases before the test. Moreover, you must avoid food or liquids other than water for 9 to 12 hours before the test. It is not compulsory to have a fast before the test; you can follow the recommendations of your doctor according to your health conditions and other related factors.

Before the test, you must discuss the following things with your doctor:

  • Family health history.
  • Medication and supplements you are taking currently.
  • Symptoms of health problems you are facing.

Cost of Cholesterol test and where it is performed

Cholesterol tests are usually performed in a diagnostic lab, doctor’s clinic, local pharmacy, or at home. Its cost varies from place to place; the clinic rates range between 50$ to 100$. In a local pharmacy, its rate is 5$ to 25$. At home, its rate is between 15$ to 25$, while in a lab, it will cost 75$ to 200$. 

  • During Cholesterol test:

Mostly the Cholesterol tests are taken in the morning because it is easy for a person to fast overnight. Blood is taken from the patient’s veins (usually from the arms) during the test. For this, they insert the needle into the patient’s body, the puncture site is cleaned with the antiseptic and wrapped with an elastic band around the upper arm. After taking blood with a needle into a syringe, a band is removed to restore blood circulation. This process takes less than two minutes, and the puncture site is covered with a bandage.

  • After the Cholesterol test:

After the cholesterol test, you don’t need any cautions. You can drive home comfortably and do your daily work. 

Risk in Cholesterol test

There isn’t any risk for the cholesterol test; you just feel a little pain for a couple of minutes when the needle enters your body.

Results of Cholesterol Test

The results of the Cholesterol test will be analyzed by the following methods;

  • If the total cholesterol level is 200mg/dL or less, it is normal. If it is between 201 to 240 mg/dL, then it is borderline, and if it is more than 240mg/dL, it is high.
  • If the level of HDL is is 60mg/dL or higher, then it suitable. If it is 40 to 59mg/dL, then it is OK for a person, and if it is 40mg/dL, it is low.
  • If the LDL level is less than 100mg/dL, it is ideal. It is high if it ranges between 130 to 159mg/dL. If more than 160mg/dL, it will be very high
  • If the level of triglycerides is less than 150mg/dL, it is ideal, and if it is between 151 to 200mg/dL, then it is higher and lastly, if it is above 200mg/dL, then it is very high.

You need to immediately consult your doctor after getting results for further medications and procedures.  

References

  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cholesterol-test/about/pac-20384601 retrieved on March 22, 2022.
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/cholesterol-test#whats-measured retrieved on March 22, 2022.
  • https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/guide/tests-for-high-cholesterol-lipid-panel retrieved on March 22, 2022.
  • https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/cholesterol levels/ retrieved on March 22, 2022.
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