What is a Lipid Panel Test?
A Lipid Panel or Lipid Profile measures the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides (also known as fats and fatty acids) that are stored in your blood and body tissues. A cholesterol test is used to evaluate your risk for heart attack, stroke, hardening of the arteries and heart disease.
What are Triglycerides and Why Should I Care?
Triglycerides are the main form of fat that our body uses, and are necessary to our health. They are formed during digestion when the body converts the fats in the foods we eat into an energy source that we can use. However, excessive triglyceride levels are unhealthy and can cause excess weight and fat to develop around our hips and bellies.
For optimal health, your triglyceride levels should be under 150 milligrams per deciliter. Triglyceride levels of 150-199 are considered borderline high. Lipid levels between 200-499 are high and levels over 500 are very high.
“Good” vs. “Bad” Cholesterol
Two types of cholesterol are measured in the Lipid Panel test: High-density lipoprotein (HDL) — also known as “good cholesterol” — and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) — also known as “bad cholesterol”.
HDL vs LDL. What's the Difference?
HDL is known as the “good cholesterol” because it helps to remove excess cholesterol in the body and send it to the liver, where it is broken down and removed from your body. High levels of HDL can lower your risk of heart attack and coronary artery disease.
LDL is known as the “bad cholesterol” because it can stick to and clog blood vessel walls, thereby impeding the free flow of blood through your body. Excess levels of LDLs can lead to blood clots and increase your risk of stroke and heart attack.
Lipid and cholesterol levels above a healthy range are a warning sign that you could be at risk for a life-threatening heart condition. The good news is that the information you get from your lipid profile will help you decide what — if any — steps you need to take to improve your health and reduce your risk for heart disease.
What are Healthy Cholesterol Levels?
For optimal health, your total cholesterol levels should be no higher than 200 milligrams per deciliter (md/dL)
Total cholesterol levels between 201 and 240 md/dL put you at borderline risk for heart disease and stroke.
Total cholesterol levels above 240 md/dL are a warning sign that you are at high risk for heart disease and stroke.
When looking at your HDL ("good cholesterol”) levels, higher numbers are better. Ideally, your HDL levels will be 60 mg/dL or higher to protect against heart disease. HDL levels of 40 to 59 mg/dL are acceptable, while levels under 40 mg/dL put you at high risk for heart disease.
Who Should Have their Cholesterol Checked?
If no other risk factors are present, adults should get a lipid panel test at least once every six years. Children should have their cholesterol checked at least once between the ages of 9-11 and again between the ages of 17-21. When heart disease risk factors are present, you should get your lipid levels tested more frequently. Your doctor can recommend the frequency at which you should get your blood tested.
How is the Lipid Panel Test Performed?
The lipid panel test is performed by inserting a needle into a vein and withdrawing the blood that will be sent to the professional lab for examination and testing. You may be asked to fast for 9-12 hours before being tested, although some labs also offer non-fasting lipid tests.
When can I expect my results?
Once your lipid panel test is completed, you can expect your results in 2-10 Business Days.
Where can I get this test?
Here at Personalabs, you can choose from four different lipid profiles:
Lipid Panel with HDL/LDL Ratio
Cardio IQ Advanced Lipid Panel
Comprehensive Lipid Profile
You can order any of our four Lipid tests direct through the Personalabs website without having to visit your own doctor first to obtain a prescription for the test.
To find a convenient testing location near you, use the state links on this page to find your closest patient service center.
After clicking on your state you will find a listing of towns and cities within that state. Click on the name of the town or city closest to you to find the listing of lab testing locations. There are more than 2,300 lab locations nationwide where you can get tested. However, we cannot provide lab testing in New York, New Jersey or Rhode Island. If you live in one of those states but still want to get tested please use our location finder to find a lab testing location in the closest neighboring state.