When you get a cholesterol test (Lipid Panel
), the results show 5 numbers:
1. Total Cholesterol
3. High Density Lipoprotein
4. Very Low Density Lipoprotein
5. Low Density Lipoprotein
Many people are just concerned about their Total Cholesterol number but physician’s are increasingly monitoring the other blood lipid numbers to assess overall health.
The Body Needs Cholesterol
Yes, we need to keep our cholesterol in check, but the body needs cholesterol to function. Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is used for the creation of cell membranes and hormones and it also protects the nerves. Too much of the waxy substance clogs arteries and increases the risk factor for heart disease.
- Low Density Lipoprotein has been called, “bad cholesterol” and this number should be low : less than 100.
- High Density Lipoprotein is called, “good cholesterol because it takes unused cholesterol away from cells to the liver to be excreted. High levels of HDL can be more efficient at removing excess cholesterol so unused cholesterol is eliminated from the body. Your number should be greater than 60.
- Triglycerides are the fats that your body uses for energy, so they are necessary, but not in excess. If your body does not use them for energy, they remain in the blood and can exacerbate hardening of the arteries. Your number should be less than 150.
- VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein) Cholesterol is the “bad” triglyceride. Elevation represents a risk of heart disease and/or pancreatitis. Your number should be between 5-40.
The lipid panel
is the blood test that is used to measure all the cholesterol levels and it is a fasting test. Most physicians recommend you get tested annually or more frequently if you have certain risk factors. Also, your physician may recommend a frequent lipid panel test if you are on cholesterol lowering medication to be sure the medication and dosage is working.
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Medical Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her health care provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. The writer is not a physician or other health provider.