AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health


A Lipid Panel is a collection of blood tests used to help your doctor determine your risk for heart disease. It does this by measuring cholesterol and triglycerides. If you’re at risk for heart disease, or even if you’re not you should know a little about how to read the results in you lipid panel.
A lipid panel measures:

  • An estimate of your total LDL – The LDL level on the test result is an estimate that is derived mathematically.  This is the “bad” Cholesterol
  • HDL Level – Referred to as the “good” Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides level – This number is very important for a variety of reasons.  It indicates the amount of fat in the blood stream looking for a place to be stored (like in your butt or your gut).  The calories we consume that we don’t need for sustenance, alcohol, and excess sugar are all converted into Triglycerides.

LDL is the number you want your efforts to be lowering.  You can calculate it using the newer Iranian method.  Doctors are starting to prefer the people with heart disease keep their LDL under 70.  The reason we call LDL the bad cholesterol is because it’s the stuff that builds up on the walls of the arteries.

Less than 100Optimal

100 – 129 Near optimal/above optimal
130 – 159 Borderline high
160 – 189 High
190 and above Very high

HDL is the number you want to see increasing over time.  Risk goes down as this number comes up.

60 and above Lower risk for heart disease
Less than 40 (men)Less than 50 (women) Increased risk of heart disease

Triglycerides is a number you really want to keep in a favorable range.   Generally a healthy lifestyle will go a long way in managing this metric.

Less than 150 Normal
150 – 199 Moderately High
200 – 499 High
500 or higher Very high

Your total healthy reading is based on your age. If you are under 20 years old, it should be between 75-169 mg/dL. If you are over 21, that range rises a bit to 100-199 mg/dL. Borderline high is anything between 200-239 mg/dL and high is anything over 240 mg/dL. Total cholesterol, though, is only part of what is important. The next step is to analyze the reading for each of the three components of your reading: HDL (high-density lipoproteins, or ‘good’ cholesterol), LDL (low-density lipoproteins, or ‘bad’ cholesterol, and triglycerides).

Your desired LDL level is based on your risk for cardiovascular disease. If you are at low risk, the desired level is below 130 mg/dL, 100 mg.dL or less is desired for those at high risk, and for those with very high risk, the optimal level is below 70 mg/dL.

HDL is the ‘good’ cholesterol. Regardless of age, gender, or risk, the recommendation is that your HDL level be higher than 40 mg/dL. Don’t forget, we’re shooting for a ratio of 3.5:1 to 4:1. Total Cholesterol : HDL

The third component is your triglycerides. Consuming large amounts of fat, simple sugars, and alcohol can significantly increase this number. Being overweight or obese, genetic predispositions, and liver or thyroid diseases can also influence your reading. The desirable level for your triglycerides is less than 150 mg/dL.

Some lipid panels include a fourth component – VLDL, which is very low-density protein. This type of cholesterol contains high levels of triglycerides and is a contributing factor for cholesterol accumulation on your artery walls. Although there isn’t an exact measurement, they estimate it is 1/5 of your triglyceride level.

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Categories: Health concerns
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