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Lipoprotein/cholesterol analysis; Lipid profile; Lipid panel; Hyperlipidemia - testing; Coronary risk profile
A coronary risk profile is a group of blood tests used to measure your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The profile can help determine your risk for heart disease.
Cholesterol is a soft, wax-like substance found in all parts of the body. Your body needs a little bit of cholesterol to work properly. But too much cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to heart disease, stroke, and other problems.
Some types of cholesterol are considered "good" and some are considered "bad." Different blood tests are needed to measure each type of cholesterol.
A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture.
Your doctor may order only a cholesterol level as the first test, which will measure cholesterol and HDL cholesterol levels. You may not need more cholesterol tests if your cholesterol is in the normal range.
You may also have a lipid (or coronary risk) profile, which includes:
People who also have high triglyceride levels may get a test called a direct LDL cholesterol (direct LDL-C).
Other blood tests, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), may be added to the profile in some laboratories.
Often, if you are only having a cholesterol level done, you can eat beforehand.
If you are having a lipid profile, you should not eat or drink anything except water 9 - 12 hours before having your blood drawn.
When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing.
Why the Test is Performed
Cholesterol blood tests are done to help you and your doctor better understand your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other problems caused by narrowed or blocked arteries.
A lipid profile may be done:
Some national guidelines recommend having the first cholesterol test done at age 20. Everyone should have their first screening test by age 35 in men, and age 45 in women.
People who have diagnosed with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure should always have a cholesterol test done, no matter what their age.
Follow-up testing should be done:
Not all experts agree on when to first check cholesterol levels in children.
The ideal values depend on whether you have heart disease or other risk factors. Your health care provider can tell you what your ideal results should be.
The desired values in most adults are:
Talk to your health care provider about the ideal levels in children.
Note: mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
Abnormal values may be a sign that you are at increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and other problems caused by narrowed or blocked arteries.
Any active illness, such as a flare-up of arthritis, can change your total cholesterol number. If you have had an illness in the 3 months before having this test, you should have this test repeated in 2 or 3 months.
See: High cholesterol to learn more about the causes of high cholesterol levels.
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults. Executive summary of the third report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) expert panel on detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). JAMA. 2001;285:2486-2497. Updated 2004.
Libby P. Lipoprotein disorders and cardiovascular disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 49.
Gennest J, Libby P. Lipoprotein disorders and cardiovascular disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 47.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for lipid disorders in children.
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