Lipid Profile

Clinical definition of the Lipid Profile test
The lipid profile is a group of tests that are generally ordered together as indicators to measure a risk for a coronary heart disease, or as a preventive measure to monitor their risk depending on factors such as life-style followed, stress, diet and exercise.
A typical lipid profile includes the following seven tests i.e.

  • Total cholesterol
  • High density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) - “ good cholesterol”
  • Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) -“ bad cholesterol”
  • Triglycerides
  • Very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C)
  • LDL/HDL Ratio (calculated values)
  • Total cholesterol/HDL Ratio (calculated values)

Why is the Lipid Profile test done?
A lipid profile may be done for the diagnoses and screening of adults and children who are at a high risk of having greater values of blood cholesterol and triglycerides due to the development of diabetes, high blood pressure or a  heart disease. It may also be done as a follow up to medical treatment and diet control plan.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the Lipid Profile test is done?
It is generally associated to a high risk of developing a heart disease.

  • Hypertension 
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Pain, fullness, and/or squeezing sensation of the chest
  • Jaw pain, toothache, headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or general epigastric (upper middle abdomen) discomfort
  • Sweating
  • Heartburn and/or indigestion
  • Arm pain (more commonly the left arm, but may be either arm)
  • Upper back pain
  • General malaise (vague feeling of illness)

Who should do the Lipid Profile test (Target population)?
It may be ordered more frequently for those who have may have risk factors for heart disease such as:

  • Age (men 45 years or older or women 55 years or older)
  • Overweight or obese people
  • Smokers
  • Heavy drinkers
  • People with a family history of heart disease or health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • People who consume excess of saturated fats - found mostly in animal products and trans-fatty acids -found in fast foods and commercially processed food products.
  • Pre-existing heart disease or those who have already had a heart attack

What should I do before the Lipid Profile test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions during specimen collection*

Serum (Blood Sample)

Venipuncture - Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm.

Fasting Required.

Fasting samples have to be collected after a minimum 12-14 hour overnight fasting status.

Clear fluids like water is allowed during this period. Refrain from consumption of early morning beverages like tea, coffee and milk until specimen collection is completed.

In case of diabetics on oral or injectable hypoglycemic agents, consult your physician about continuing with these medications prior to specimen collection.

*Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my Lipid Profile test results?


Interval & Interpretation

LDL: “bad cholesterol”

70 - 130 mg/dL (lower numbers are better)

HDL: “good cholesterol”

greater than 40 - 60 mg/dL (higher numbers are better)

Total cholesterol

less than 200 mg/dL (lower numbers are better)


10 - 150 mg/dL (lower numbers are better)


2 - 38 mg/dL

Inference:  The ideal values are different for people without coronary artery disease or other risk factors than for those with known coronary artery disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure. The recommended values for adults are different depending on the above risk factors.
‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Diseases/conditions related to the Lipid Profile test

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack or death
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney disease
  • Familial combined hyperlipidemia
  • Familial dysbetalipoproteinemia
  • Familial hypercholesterolemia
  • Familial hypertriglyceridemia
  • Obesity

Other tests related to the Lipid Profile test

  • Cholesterol 
  • VLDL
  • Cardiac Risk Profile
  • Apolipoprotein A-1
  • Apolipoprotein B (APO-B)
  • HDL Cholesterol
  • LDL-Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

Synonyms : VLDL
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Lipid Profile

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