About the Test
A lipid panel is a blood test that measures the amount of certain fat molecules called lipids in your blood. In most cases, the panel includes several types of cholesterol and a measurement of your triglycerides. Having too many lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) in your blood can lead to buildup in your blood vessels and arteries, which can cause damage and increase your risk of cardiovascular problems. Because of this, healthcare providers use lipid panels for both children and adults to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart disease, heart attack (myocardial infarction) and stroke.
Lipids are types of fat molecules in the blood. Cholesterol and triglycerides are two important types of lipids that are carried inside particles called lipoproteins.
A lipid panel measures different types of lipids from a blood sample, including:
Total cholesterol: This measures your overall cholesterol level.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol: This type of cholesterol, known as “bad cholesterol,” can collect in blood vessels and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol: This type of “good cholesterol” helps reduce the buildup of LDL.
Triglycerides: Excess amounts of this type of fat are associated with cardiovascular disease and pancreatic inflammation.
Purpose of the test
- Reasons a provider may order a lipid panel include:
- As a routine test to determine if your cholesterol level is normal or falls into a borderline-, intermediate- or high-risk category.
- To monitor your cholesterol level if you had abnormal results on a previous test or if you have other risk factors for heart disease.
- To monitor your body’s response to treatment, such as cholesterol medications or lifestyle changes.
- To help diagnose other medical conditions, such as liver disease.