Lipid Profile Testing

Medical science has developed lipid profile testing to determine a person's risk of coronary heart disease. The tests that are taken make up a lipid panel test and they may include finding out the total cholesterol, the HDL cholesterol, the LDL cholesterol, and the triglycerides. The results will be based on the patient's age, sex, and other risk factors such as whether he smokes and how much. The results will help medical professionals determine the treatment options for the person at risk. A plan is made up to help determine the best way to achieve good cholesterol levels through medication, exercise, and diet. There are two forms of lipids. One is cholesterol and the other triglycerides. Both of these are made in the liver and intestines or are in the food we eat in the form of fats. When the fats are digested by stomach, they go to the liver and are attached to carrier proteins. These proteins help the fat flow in the blood to the cells.

There are four kinds of these proteins and the fat that they carry. They are High Density Lipoproteins HDL, Low Density Lipoproteins LDL, Very Low Density Lipoproteins VLDL, and Intermediate Density Cholesterol IDL. When VLDL is sent to the liver, the substance carries triglycerides and cholesterol. Eventually, it discharges all its triglycerides and becomes LDL. LDL is considered the bad cholesterol because if the body doesn't eat up all the LDL in the blood, then the substance attaches itself to the arteries, causing atherosclerosis. This eventually may result putting pressure on the heart as the muscle pumps harder to move the blood around the blockage, causing angina, pain, and perhaps even a heart attack. Or the arteries may become so blocked that this causes loss of blood to the brain, resulting in a stroke. The material that is deposited in the arteries causing blockage is called plaque. The lipid panel test determines how much of the patient's cholesterol is LDL, which helps illuminate the risk factors for coronary disease. These problems do not usually have symptoms until the blockage is severe, which can result in a fatal heart attack. HDL is considered the good cholesterol because it can help remove the LDL from the blood and bring them back to the liver.

What lipid profile testing will tell a patient is what he needs to do to change his lifestyle to counteract disease progression. Two of the problems with lifestyle that lead to problems are having the wrong kind of diet and doing too little exercise. But having the right diet and doing the correct exercises are the basis for lowering cholesterol and living a healthy life. Foods to avoid are red meats, egg yolks, fried foods, coconut oil, butter, cheese, cream, milk, and chocolate. A heavy concentration of these foods will tip the lipid panel test to show more risk factors and a propensity toward coronary disease. Eating fiber will prevent these problems. Fiber can be found in fresh fruit, seeds, whole grains, and beans. Also, the way food is cooked will make a big difference in how bad it is for the body. If a food is baked or boiled, it will contain less fat. Fried foods contain higher levels of fat. Exercise should be undertaken for fifteen to twenty minutes per day. The best exercises to reduce coronary heart disease are jogging, walking, swimming, cycling, or aerobics. These exercises pump up the heart and strength the blood vessels, and reduce the risk factors for a heart attack.

The worst thing a person can do is to ignore or put off getting lipid profile testing because then he or she will never know the personal risk factors and will continue living the same way, perhaps leading up to a fatal heart attack or a stroke that debilitates. But having a lipid panel test done is a factor for long life and good living. "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of tit is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold." (Proverbs 3:13-14) Understanding one's genetics is also essential to devising a lifestyle plan that will lead to a healthy future. If one's ancestors had coronary disease, then that will be passed along in the gene pool. Some of the problem with heart attack or stroke may be the result of an ancestor's lifestyle or diet, but these factors must be assessed when making up a treatment plan and a lifestyle change. Because this illness is a silent killer, waiting to find out how the risk factors affect the patient may be fatal.

Lipids are fatty substances that are formed in the liver. However, they are also found in foods high in saturated fats. We cannot live without some cholesterol, so we cannot completely eliminate it from our diet. It helps our cells function and helps form certain hormones. The male over 45 and the female over 55 may have higher levels on their lipid panel test. People who have diabetes, who smoke, have high blood pressure, or have a family history of heart disease are in need of lipid profile testing. Some people can have good diets and still come out poorly on these tests, so just assessing the diet is not a fail-safe result. But these exams can show how to manage diet and exercise, along with medication if needed, to lower the chances of having a heart attack or stroke.

Lipid Panel Test

A lipid panel test is standard blood work that a physician will order during a yearly or six month physical. The panel is a blood test that measures fats and fatty substances in the bloodstream, providing a snapshot of risks for various ailments such as heart disease and stroke. The test will measure total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides. The lipid test is a test that requires a twelve hour fast so that a true reading can be taken. If anything is ingested except water, the blood test will need to be postponed. The panel is a test that is typically covered by most health insurance plans.

This is not a test that is usually ordered for children and teens, and for those who have normal readings, the panel is a test that will probably be ordered every three to five years until there is indication of elevated levels. A lipid panel test measures the good and bad cholesterol in the bloodstream. Cholesterol is a waxy alcohol substance that is found in the cell membranes and transported in the blood plasma of all animals. Cholesterol is a part of being healthy because cholesterol is used to form cell membranes but a heightened level can spell trouble for the heart because it clogs blood vessels. "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, these are the things which defile a man..." (Matthew 15: 19, 20a)

There are actually two types of cholesterol measured by that concern your doctor: high and low density blood cholesterol. High density (HDL) makes up about one third of all cholesterol and high density cholesterol is what is known as the good stuff. The medical community thinks that HDL helps carry cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver where it is then disposed from the body. Doctors want to see from the lipid panel test high levels of the good stuff and when it is low, there are higher risks for heart and stroke issues. Your doctor will probably want to see higher than 50 mg/dl of HDL.

It is the LDL or low density stuff that is the real culprit and the thing that concerns a doctor. Over time the LDL can build up on the artery walls constricting blood flow that can lead to a heart attack. The other serious result of high cholesterol can be a stroke, which can lead to devastating consequences such a limb paralysis, the inability to speak, blindness or even total immobility. The lipid panel test will probably be administered at least once a year for those who are prescribed cholesterol lowering medications to observe their effectiveness. When high cholesterol findings are made with the lipid panel test the physician will prescribe a low fat diet and want to see the patient get more exercise in order to help lower the LDL readings.

Almost forty million Americans are on cholesterol lowering medicines. Along with the medicine a diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables is highly recommended while staying form whole fat dairy products and highly fatty meat such as all red meats. Fried and processed foods, which if ingested regularly will certainly show up as high LDL numbers on a lipid panel test need to be avoided. Foods that can naturally fight cholesterol are legumes, nuts and seeds. Using butter substitutes, eating oatmeal regularly and consuming whole oat cereals have also been shown to help in the fight against high LDL levels. Medical experts recommend those who enjoy eating meat should stay with fish, white meat chicken and white meat turkey.

A regular exercise program can also help to lower high cholesterol readings that might show up in a lipid panel test. Many fitness experts say that a two mile walk everyday can help to substantially lower high cholesterol levels of LDL. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, using a walking lawn mower instead of a riding mower and many other daily choices can help a person lower their bad cholesterol readings substantially over time. Fighting the onset of heart disease is a never ending battle for those over the age of forty five and especially for those who have naturally high levels of cholesterol. An ever vigilant stance must be taken in order to keep LDL levels at safe levels, hopefully under 160 mg.

When a lipid panel test does reveal high readings, the physician will normally prescribe cholesterol fighting drugs to aid in the battle against heart disease. There are five classes of these kinds of drugs: statins, resins, fibrates, nitrates and absorption inhibitors with the most popular class of these drugs being the statins with well known names such as Lipitor, Caduet and Zocor. These drugs work to pull cholesterol out of the blood stream and blocking cholesterol making enzymes. The other classes of drugs all work in different ways to lower the numbers that concern the physician and should concern the patient also. It is very important that those who are identified with high LDL numbers stay on their drug regimen regularly and not skip or completely ignore their responsibility to take the medicine. Family members can help the patient by encouraging the exercise, and not demanding a diet with the foods that can be harmful to the patient. A patient should stay on top of new drug introductions and talk to his or her physicians to discuss new methods for fighting this disease.

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