Lipid profile (cholesterol and triglycerides)

Also known as: Cholesterol test, Triglycerides test
Cholesterol and triglyceride tests are blood tests that measure the total amount of fatty substances (cholesterol and triglycerides) in the blood. Cholesterol travels through the blood attached to a protein. This cholesterol-protein package is called a lipoprotein. Lipoprotein analysis (lipoprotein profile or lipid profile) measures blood levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.

Cholesterol. The body uses cholesterol to help build cells and produce hormones. Too much cholesterol in the blood can build up inside arteries, forming what is known as plaque. Large amounts of plaque increase your chances of having a heart attack or stroke.

HDL (high-density lipoprotein) helps remove fat from the body by binding with it in the bloodstream and carrying it back to the liver for disposal. It is sometimes called "good" cholesterol. A high level of HDL cholesterol may lower your chances of developing heart disease or stroke.

LDL
(low-density lipoprotein) carries mostly fat and only a small amount of protein from the liver to other parts of the body. It is sometimes called "bad cholesterol." A high LDL cholesterol level may increase your chances of developing heart disease.

VLDL: (very low-density lipoprotein) contains very little protein. The main purpose of VLDL is to distribute the triglyceride produced by your liver. A high VLDL cholesterol level can cause the buildup of cholesterol in your arteries and increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Triglycerides are a type of fat the body uses to store energy and give energy to muscles. Only small amounts are found in the blood. Having a high triglyceride level along with a high LDL cholesterol may increase your chances of having heart disease more than having only a high LDL cholesterol level.

Some medical experts recommend routine cholesterol and triglyceride testing to screen for problems that affect the way cholesterol is produced, used, carried in the blood, or disposed of by the body. Others may choose to routinely measure only total cholesterol and HDL levels. 

Providence Health & Services is committed to providing high quality health care programs throughout Oregon, and our laboratory services are no exception. Operating 24 hours a day, our fully accredited labs process more than 5 million diagnostic tests annually statewide. With experienced protocols, the latest technology and skilled medical staff, you can trust us to quickly and accurately deliver the results you need.

Forms Instructions

Ask an expert: Can a cheeseburger raise my cholesterol test results?

Q: “I ate a cheeseburger the day before I gave blood for a physical. Even though I fasted for 12 hours before I gave blood, could the cheeseburger have elevated my cholesterol? I am 22 and am only a few pounds overweight. My total cholesterol is 180; HDL is 37; LDL is 119; triglycerides are 121. What do you suggest I do to lower my numbers?”

Preventing Cardiac Risk: Cholesterol in the blood

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that can be found in all parts of your body. It aids in the production of cell membranes, some hormones, and vitamin D. The cholesterol in your blood comes from two sources: the foods you eat and your liver. However, your liver makes all of the cholesterol your body needs.

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