Monday, August 2, 2010
also called a lipid panel or lipid profile —....It is a group of blood tests that measure the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. A cholesterol test can help determine your risk of atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaques in your arteries that can lead to narrowed or blocked arteries throughout your body. If your cholesterol levels are high, you probably won't have any signs or symptoms, so a cholesterol test is an important tool. High cholesterol levels are a significant risk factor for heart disease.
What's measured in a cholesterol test?
A complete cholesterol test, referred to as a lipid panel or lipid profile, includes the measurement of four types of fats (lipids) in your blood:
* Total cholesterol. This is a sum of your blood's cholesterol content.
* High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. This is sometimes called the "good" cholesterol because it helps carry away LDL cholesterol, thus keeping arteries open and your blood flowing more freely.
* Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This is sometimes called the "bad" cholesterol. Too much of it in your blood causes the buildup of fatty deposits (plaques) in your arteries (atherosclerosis), which reduces blood flow. These plaques sometimes rupture and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
* Triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn't need to use right away into triglycerides, which are stored in fat cells. High triglyceride levels usually mean you regularly eat more calories than you burn. High levels are also seen in overweight people, in those consuming too many sweets or too much alcohol, and in people with diabetes who have elevated blood sugar levels.