Lipids (fats) and lipid-like substances are essential to various bodily functions and serve as a source for energy. This test (panel) measures the level of the different lipids and lipid-like substances in the blood.
Cholesterol and triglycerides are carried in the blood by lipoprotein particles. These particles are also measured and classified according to density into high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL).
Maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol is important to prevent long term cardiovascular complications. The body produces the required cholesterol however diet can also become an important source. For those with a family history (inherited predisposition for high cholesterol levels) or when the daily diet contains and excess of foods that are high in saturated fats, the blood level of cholesterol may increase and could negatively impact the person's health. Excess cholesterol may be deposited in plaques on blood vessels walls that could narrow or block the opening of blood vessels (atherosclerosis - hardening of blood vessels). Atherosclerosis has been associated with cardiovascular disease complications including heart attack and stroke.
The lipogram includes: Total cholesterol, Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-Cholesterol) - "bad cholesterol", High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-Cholesterol) - "good cholesterol" and Triglycerides
The lipogram is used to help predict the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and determine treatment. The lipogram is used to monitor the effectiveness of and or response to therapy.
Cholesterol testing should be done in all adults with no known risk factors at least once every four years as part of a general risk assessment for cardiovascular complications.
Cholesterol testing should be done more frequent, often bi-annually when a person has one or more risk factors cardiovascular disease which may include:
Adolescents and children
Screening for abnormal cholesterol is recommended between 9 - 12 years and 17 - 22 years of age. More frequent screening is indicated for those at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and complications similar to adults.
Testing may be performed at more frequent intervals as part of monitoring therapy (lipid-lowering lifestyle changes e.g. exercise and dietary changes and specific medication known as lipid-lowering agents/ statins)
For patients who start on medical therapy it is recommended to do the lipogram test after 4 - 12 weeks and again at 3 months to determine effect.
Monitoring may be guided by the medical practitioner who prescribed the therapy.