Lipid panel is a test done to determine the cholesterol levels in the human body. High cholesterol levels can prove to be fatal, as they may arise the risk of heart attack and diabetes. One needs to fast before taking this test. This HealthHearty article will give you the necessary information required to be well prepared before you go for a lipid profile.
Lipid panel, or lipid profile, is another name for a complete cholesterol test which helps identify the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in blood. This further helps detecting the risk of heart failure and other diseases. If the bloodstream has high cholesterol levels, then there are chances that your arteries have high buildup of plaque, which can lead to narrowed and/or blocked arteries in your body, causing heart failure or peripheral artery disease.
Why is This Test Done
It is done in order to measure the 4 main types of lipids (fats) that are present in your blood. These are explained as follows.
- High-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL), which is good, as it helps wash away the LDL cholesterol in the blood and prevents the blockage of arteries.
- Low-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL), which is bad for health as it tends to accumulate in the arteries as plaque, which can lead to a heart attack.
- Triglycerides, which are the unwanted calories that you consume, converted into fats, and stored in the fat cells.
- Total Cholesterol, which includes all the aforementioned lipids, indicates whether the overall value of cholesterol is within normal range or not.
Your doctor would advice you to get a lipid panel test done if,
- Your family history includes high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart diseases.
- You are overweight and physically inactive.
- You consume a high-fat diet on a regular basis and/or are showing symptoms related to elevated cholesterol levels.
The reason why you need to fast before a lipid profile is done, is because the consumption of food can raise your triglyceride levels up to 30% or more, hence, not giving a clear picture of your cholesterol levels. Mentioned below are the essential steps that one needs to follow.
- It is advisable to start fasting at least 9 to 12 hours before the commencement of the test. This is why, it is better to take an early morning appointment with your doctor, so that most of the fasting period is covered during your sleep.
- The only thing that doctors recommend to consume, is water. Even soups, bouillons, broths, soda, tea, coffee, or juices are not allowed, as these may trigger the triglyceride levels.
- As far as alcohol is concerned, it is advisable to avoid the consumption of alcohol 24 hours prior to the test. Alcohol stays in the system for a long time and hence may manipulate the test results.
- There are certain medications, which if consumed before the lipid panel, can end up triggering the cholesterol levels. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with your doctor about the medications that you consume to get the correct guidance in this matter.
How is It Done
The procedure is fairly simple, quick, safe, and most importantly, almost painless. The following points will give you a fair idea of how this test is carried out.
- A blood sample is usually collected from the vein of the upper arm. The puncture site is cleaned with a medicated cotton ball, and an elastic band is tied around the arm to increase the blood supply around the vein.
- A needle is then inserted in the vein, and little amount of blood is collected in the tube attached to the needle.
- Once the blood is collected, the band is removed and so is the needle.
- The punctured site is pressed with a medicated cotton ball to prevent further bleeding and infection.
The procedure doesn’t even take a few minutes and there is no pain, just a small prick, which is very similar to a small ant bite. Once the test is done, you can get back to the normal activities, the first and foremost of which would be, eating.
Fasting wouldn’t be a problem if you have an early morning appointment. However, if you have an appointment in the evening, then it could be a bit troublesome.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is meant for informational purposes only and should not be considered as a replacement for expert medical advice.