The Significance of Lipid Profile

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It is a myth that cholesterol is bad and results in various health ailments. There are two types of cholesterol in the body – good (HDL) and bad (LDL). Maintaining normal lipid levels is essential for a healthy body. Higher levels of LDL are associated with various health conditions like stroke and hypertension. 71 million American adults are seen to suffer from high LDL levels.

Lipid Profile Test and its Significance

Lipids are nothing but a group of fats and fat-like substances. They are sources of energy and important constituents of the cells. A lipid profile measures the level of specific lipids in the blood. There are two major types of lipids in our body: cholesterol and triglycerides. As they are water insoluble, they are transported by lipoprotein particles. Each particle consists of a combination of phospholipid molecule, triglyceride, cholesterol, and protein. The particles are classified by their density as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL)

Lipids are essential for various bodily functions. However, maintaining normal levels of lipids is essential for health. 75% of the cholesterol is produced by the liver and the rest of it comes from diet. Consuming too much food rich in saturated fats and trans fats can result in abnormal lipid levels. The extra lipids can deposit on the wall of the blood vessels to form a plaque, which narrows and eventually block the opening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).

 This, in turn, increases the risk of various health conditions like heart attack and stroke. It Increases the risk of heart diseases, which is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Individuals with abnormal lipid profile are twice as prone to heart diseases to those having normal levels. Moreover, lowering cholesterol levels can reduce the risk of having a heart attack, angioplasty, or needing bypass surgery. Triglyceride is a type of lipid. Excess calories consumed by the body is stored in the form of triglycerides.

Constituents and normal range of lipid test are as mentioned below:

     Total cholesterol - Less than 200 mg/dL
     LDL cholesterol - Less than 100 mg/dL
     HDL cholesterol - 60 mg/dL or higher
     Triglycerides - Less than 150 mg/dL

Abnormal lipid levels indicate that you are at a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, and heart attack. Abnormal lipid levels should be followed by other investigations like blood sugar levels and thyroid hormone levels. Undergoing a lipid profile benefitsin understanding cholesterol levels and risk of complications associated with it.

What Can be Done?

Abnormal lipid levels can be treated with medication and lifestyle changes. Lowering LDL levels can help in avoiding disorders of the heart and blood vessels
The following lifestyle changes can be done to lower your cholesterol levels.

     Quit smoking
     Avoid high-sodium and high-fat foods
     Consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean sources of protein, low-fat dairy products, and whole-grain products
     Limit your alcohol consumption
     Exercise regularly. Try 45 minutes of brisk walk daily or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week
     Only 7% of your daily calories should come from saturated fats

Losing weight can also help in lowering abnormal lipid levels. In some cases, medications like statins are given that lower the LDL levels.