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COMMON LAB VALUES IN LIPIDS (FATS)

Getting a Patient History

QUIZ YOURSELF ON VARIOUS HEALTH TOPICS! CLICK HERE!

Click here to contact me with questions about your laboratory results - I do not volley e-mails back and forth because it is just too time consuming to keep track of who is responding to what e-mail. If you have a health question, please read about Signs and Symptoms before our conversation.

This is a brief summary of lab value interpretation and is not intended in any way to be comprehensive or replace any conversation of your results with your doctor.

LIPID LAB VALUES

Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance in the blood and when elevated has been associated with heart disease. Imagine the fat from meat that collects or settles in a pan or plate instead settling in your blood vessels.

Total Cholesterol: High cholesterol in the blood is a major risk factor for heart and blood vessel disease. Cholesterol in itself is not all bad, in fact, our bodies need a certain amount of this substance to function properly. However, when the level gets too high, vascular (blood vessel) disease can result. The levels that your doctor will recommend depend upon whether you are at high risk for cardiovascular disease (heart vessel disease).

Total cholesterol of less than 200,
and an LDL Cholesterol of 100 or less
is considered optimal by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

As the level of blood cholesterol increases, so does the possibility of plugging the arteries due to cholesterol plaque build-up. Such a disease process is called "hardening of the arteries" or "atherosclerosis." When the arteries feeding the heart become plugged, a heart attack may occur. If the arteries that go to the brain are affected, then the result is a stroke.

There are three major kinds of cholesterol, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), and Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLDL).

High density lipoproteins (HDL) is desired as opposed to the low density lipoproteins (LDL), two types of cholesterol. Elevated cholesterol has been seen in artherosclerosis, diabetes, hypothyroidism and pregnancy. Low levels are seen in depression, malnutrition, liver insufficiency, malignancies, anemia and infection.

Normal Adult Range: < 200 mg/dL

CHOLESTEROL/LDL RATIO

Normal Adult Range: 1 - 6

HDL cholesterol is a 'good cholesterol' as it protects against heart disease by helping remove excess cholesterol deposited in the arteries. High levels seem to be associated with low incidence of coronary heart disease.

You can remember that HDL is the 'good cholesterol' by remembering that the "H" in HDL stands for the "Happy" cholesterol.

HDL (High Density Lipoprotein) - A high level of HDL is an indication of a healthy metabolic system if there is no sign of liver disease or intoxication.

Normal Adult Range: > 30 mg/dL

LDL Cholesterol is considered "bad cholesterol" because cholesterol deposits form in the arteries when LDL levels are high. An LDL level of less than 130 is recommended, 100 is optimal, values greater than 160 are considered high risk and should be followed up by your physician. Those who have established coronary or vascular disease may be instructed by their doctor to get their LDL Cholesterol well below 100. You should ask your doctor which LDL target he or she wants for you. There are two ways to report LDL. The most common is simply an estimate calculated from the Total Cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides results. This may say "LDL Calc". A directly measured LDL Cholesterol is usually more accurate, but more expensive and may require that your doctor specify the direct LDL.

LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) - studies correlate the association between high levels of LDL and arterial artherosclerosis

Normal Adult Range: < 130 mg/dL

Triglyceride is fat in the blood when elevated, has been associated with heart disease, especially if the triglycerides are over 500 mg. High triglycerides are also associated with pancreatitis. Triglyceride levels over 150 mg/dl may be associated with problems other than heart disease.

Increased levels may be present in artherosclerosis, hypothyroidism, liver disease, pancreatitis, myocardial infarction, metabolic disorders, toxemia, and nephrotic syndrome. Decreased levels may be present in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, brain infarction, hyperthyroidism, malnutrition, and malabsorption.

Normal Adult Range: 35 - 160 mg/dL

Triglycerides can be lowered through:

  • 1) weight reduction, if the individual is overweight;
  • 2) reduction of animal fats in the diet and eating more fish;
  • 3) if your physician prescribes certain medications, following your physician orders;
  • 4) get regular aerobic exercise;
  • 5) decrease alcohol and sugar consumption, as alcohol and sugar are not fats, but the body can and will convert them into fats then dump those fats into your blood stream
  • 6) restrict your caloric intake because carbohydrates are converted to triglycerides when eaten to excess.

VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) is another carrier of fat in the blood. Very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) is composed mostly of cholesterol, with little protein. VLDL is often called "bad cholesterol" because it deposits cholesterol on the walls of arteries. Increased levels of VLDL are associated with atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

This is a brief summary of lab value interpretation and is not intended in any way to be comprehensive or replace any conversation of your results with your doctor.

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DISCLAIMER

**This web site's goal is to provide you with information that may be useful in attaining optimal health. Nothing in it is meant as a prescription or as medical advice. You should check with your physician before implementing any changes in your exercise or lifestyle habits, especially if you have physical problems or are taking medications of any kind.