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The lipid profile is a group of tests that are often ordered together to determine risk of coronary heart disorder. They are tests that have been shown to be good indicators of whether someone is likely to have a heart attack or stroke caused by blockage of blood vessels or hardening of the arteries (atherosclerois). The lipid profile typically includes:
·Total cholesterol  
·High density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) — often called good cholesterol  
·Low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) — often called bad cholesterol  
An extended profile may also include:
·Very low density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C)  
Sometimes the report will include additional calculated values such as the Cholesterol/HDL ratio or a risk score based on lipid profile results, age, sex, and other risk factors. Talk to your doctor about what these other reported values may mean for you.

The lipid profile is used to help determine your risk of heart disorder and to help guide you and your health care provider in deciding what treatment may be best for you if you have borderline or high risk. The results of the lipid profile are considered along with other known risk factors of heart disorder to develop a plan of treatment and follow-up. Depending on your results and other risk factors, treatment options may involve life-style changes such as diet and exercise or lipid-lowering medications such as statins.

It is recommended that healthy adults with no other risk factors for heart disorder be tested with a fasting lipid profile once every five years. You may be screened using only a cholesterol test and not a full lipid profile. However, if the cholesterol test result is high, you may have follow-up testing with a lipid profile.
If you have other risk factors or have had a high cholesterol level in the past, you should be tested more regularly and you should have a full lipid profile.
For children and adolescents at low risk, lipid testing is usually not ordered routinely. However, screening with a lipid profile is recommended for children and youths who are at an increased risk of developing heart disorder as adults. Some of the risk factors are similar to those in adults and include a family history of heart disorder or health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), or being overweight. High-risk children should have their first lipid profile between 2 and 10 years old, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Children younger than 2 years old are too young to be tested.
A lipid profile may also be ordered at regular intervals to evaluate the success of lipid-lowering lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise or to determine the effectiveness of drug therapy such as statins.

Test results
In general, your doctor will take into consideration the results of each component of a lipid profile plus other risk factors to determine whether treatment is necessary and, if so, which treatment will best help you to lower your risk of heart disorder. The National Cholesterol Education Program offers the following guidelines for adults for classifying results of the tests:
LDL Cholesterol
Optimal: Less than 100 mg/dL (2.59 mmol/L)
Near/above optimal: 100-129 mg/dL (2.59-3.34 mmol/L)
Borderline high: 130-159 mg/dL (3.37-4.12 mmol/L)
High: 160-189 mg/dL (4.15-4.90 mmol/L)
Very high: Greater than 190 mg/dL (4.90 mmol/L)
Total Cholesterol
Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL (5.18 mmol/L)
Borderline high: 200-239 mg/dL (5.18 to 6.18 mmol/L)
High: 240 mg/dL (6.22 mmol/L) or higher
HDL Cholesterol
Low level, increased risk: Less than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L) for men and less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L) for women
Average level, average risk: 40-50 mg/dL (1.0-1.3 mmol/L) for men and between 50-59 mg/dl (1.3-1.5 mmol/L) for women
High level, less than average risk: 60 mg/dL (1.55 mmol/L) or higher for both men and women
Fasting Triglycerides
Desirable: Less than 150 mg/dL (1.70 mmol/L)
Borderline high: 150-199 mg/dL(1.7-2.2 mmol/L)
High: 200-499 mg/dL (2.3-5.6 mmol/L)
Very high: Greater than 500 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L)
The risk categories for children and adolescents are different than adults. Talk to your child's pediatrician about your child's results.

All information on this page is intended for your general knowledge only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.