What is a blood test?
A blood test is conducted by pathologists in a clinical laboratory by taking a blood sample. The test is conducted by recommendation of a doctor or as a routine checkup. The blood test is sent to evaluate things like the concentration of glucose, white blood cells, or haemoglobin. The conducted blood test is instrumental in detecting problems, such as a disease or a medical condition. In some cases, blood tests can help you know how well an organ is working (such as the liver or kidneys).
What is a Lipid Profile?
A lipid profile is a specialized blood test, which reflects the concentration of fat and lipoproteins (LP) – compounds that carry fats in the blood.The concentration and structure of fats and lipoproteins in the blood serum characterise a person’s predisposition to the development of atherosclerosis and vascular diseases.
The figure on the left shows the formula of a molecule of cholesterol, it is traditionally believed that it is he who is the main source of “ills”, it is he who causesatherosclerosis, However, this is not quite true.
What is the Lipid Profile for?
This coronary risk profile measures the levels of the following substances:
– It is a fatty substance or lipid present in all the cells of the body. It is obtained endogenously or exogenously.
– The liver produces most of the cholesterol necessary to form cell membranes and produce certain hormones (endogenously).
– When we eat foods of animal origin, such as meat, eggs and dairy products, we increase the body’s cholesterol levels (exogenously).
– High-density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol):
– The HDL particles transport cholesterol from the cells back to the liver, where it can be eliminated by the body.
– The HDL cholesterol is called ” good cholesterol ” because it is believed that high levels of this substance reduce cardiovascular risk.
– People with HDL deficiency have a higher cardiovascular risk, even if their total cholesterol is lower than the figure considered ideal (200 mg/dl).
– HDL deficiency is a consequence of a sedentary lifestyle (little or no physical activity) or certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.
In general, men have lower concentrations of this substance compared to women, since estrogen (female hormone) increases HDL. It should be noted that when they stop menstruating (menopause), their lipid levels may decrease.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol):
– Also known as ” bad cholesterol ” because it is believed that its high levels contribute to cardiovascular disease. Its excess in the blood causes accumulation of fat (called plaque) in the walls of the arteries, which initiates the process of atherosclerotic disease.
– If plaque accumulates in the arteries that supply the heart, the risk of heart attack increases. LDL levels can be elevated in people with low physical activity and whose diet is rich in saturated fats, cholesterol and/or carbohydrates.
– Sometimes hypothyroidism (decreased function of the thyroid gland, located in the neck) can raise the LDL concentration.
– Fats that supply energy to the muscles. Like cholesterol, they are transported to the body’s cells by blood lipoproteins.
– A diet high in saturated fats or carbohydrates can raise triglyceride levels, which can increase cardiovascular risk by themselves, although not all scientists agree on it.
– The high percentage of people with high levels of triglycerides suffer from obesity or have HDL cholesterol deficiency, in addition to suffering high blood pressure (hypertension) or diabetes, all of the cardiovascular risk factors. Most extreme triglyceride levels (in excess of 1000 mg/dL) can cause stomach agony and perilous pancreas sickness (pancreatitis).
– The total cholesterol in the blood is the sum of the cholesterol transported in the particles of LDL, HDL and other lipoproteins.
– Some specialists suggest that everyone over 20 years of age should have a full lipoprotein profile at least every five years, in order to assess their risk of having a heart attack (tissue death due to lack of blood supply; brain). If the patient has suffered a heart attack, has diabetes or suffers from hyperlipidemia (high level of fats in the blood), the frequency will change according to the behaviour of the individual and the opinion of the attending physician.
How is the Lipid Profile Performed?
In most blood tests, a blood sample is drawn from a vein.For this purpose, a health expert will :
– clean the skin
– Place a rubber band (tourniquet) around the area so that the veins swell with the blood.
– insert a syringe into a vein (mostly in the arm, either on the backside of the hand or inside one of the elbows)
– introduce the sample blood into a syringe or vial.
– remove the gum and remove the needle carefully from the vein
In What Cases do They Request It?
– The lipid profile indicates the risk of a person towards the development of heart diseases or atherosclerosis (hardening, narrowing or blockage of the arteries). Normalizing lipid concentrations as soon as possible can reduce the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis later on.
– Doctors recommend that anyone with a cardiovascular event, patients with diabetes, with chronic kidney damage or who have a family history of dyslipidemia or premature cardiovascular disease (before 55 years in men and 65 years in women) should undergo frequent Lipid Profile tests.
– It is also recommended to people with cardiovascular risk factors (smoker, hypertension, obesity, etc.), or who have some causal factor of dyslipidemia (hypothyroidism, alcohol consumption, drugs, etc.), in which it is used to estimate the risk. Also, for healthy people who want a preventive check.
How to Prepare for a Lipid Profile Test?
Many doctors recommend that healthy adult men get their first lipid profile test at age 35.
To obtain objective results of the analysis on the lipid profile before delivery of blood,special trainingis necessary.Blood sampling is done only in the morning on an empty stomach.The last meal before this can be no later than 12 hours.You can drink only water.It is recommended not to smoke at least 2 hours before giving blood.The day before the analysis you need to exclude the use of alcohol.Physical stress and stressful situations on the day before lipid profile research are undesirable.
Blood for analysis is taken from the vein and sent to the biochemical laboratory.This study has no contraindications and no side effects.At the same time, its importance is great not only in terms of treatment of the already manifested disease but also for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, which often develop gradually, almost unnoticeable.All adults areadvised to go through the lipid profile from time to time.
The person who undergoes this examination should fast between 10 and 12 hours before the analysis; The only liquid that can be consumed is simple water.
– If cholesterol levels are measured from a blood sample not taken on an empty stomach, it will only be possible to calculate total cholesterol and HDL. If the results indicate high total cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol, or if the patient has other cardiovascular risk factors, it is very likely that the doctor will request a complete lipoprotein profile.
– The examination must be done in a specialized laboratory. The tests that are carried out in health fairs, shopping centres or by home equipment do not always offer reliable results and are only referential.
– Before undergoing cholesterol analysis, the patient must maintain their usual weight and not alter their physical activity or change their regular diet.
Lipid Profile Risks:
The lipid profile is a safe procedure with minimum risks.Some children become dizzy or faint when they draw blood.A few children and adolescents are very afraid of needles.If your child is anxious, talk with your doctor before doing the test on ways to make the procedure easier.
It is common to see a small bruise and/or mild muscle pain in the area of the puncture, which may last a few days.Ask for medical help if your child’s discomfort or discomfort gets worse or lasts longer.
If you have any questions about the lipid profile, talk to your child’s doctor or the professional who is going to have the blood drawn.
Generally, it does not represent a major problem, there is only risk when obtaining the blood sample. This depends on the characteristics of the patient’s veins, since their size and resistance vary in each individual, and there are cases in which injuries can easily occur.
Other consequences associated with the extraction of blood, although they occur with low frequency, include:
– Excessive bleeding
– A sensation of dizziness.
– Hematoma (accumulation of blood under the skin or “bruise”).
– Infection (although the risk is slight, it exists every time a rupture of the epidermis occurs).
– The needle should always be sterile and disposable, in order to prevent the spread of infections.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
1) What happens after the test?
Ans: The health professional will remove the gum and needle, and then cover the area with a cotton swab or bandage to stop bleeding. After the extraction, it is possible that a small bruise appears, which should disappear in a few days.
2) When will the results be ready?
Ans: Blood samples are processed using a machine, and results can take a few hours to a day to be ready. If the results of the test indicated a possible problem, the doctor would ask for other tests to find out what the problem is and how to treat it.
3) What should I notice when having the results?
Ans: You have to look first at your total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Total cholesterol is the sum of the fractions of HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol) and VLDL (particles that carry triglycerides). Most of the time, total cholesterol is elevated because the person has high LDL, which increases cardiovascular risk. Although in some situations, total cholesterol may be elevated because a person has high HDL, which lowers the risk.
4) What should I do if I have abnormal values in my lipid profile?
Ans: It is important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle if you want to treat the abnormal values in your lipid profile and maintain good cardiovascular health.This means that you need:
– Have a diet low in saturated fats (most come from animals, such as fatty fillets, pork, lamb, poultry with skin, butter, cheese, whole milk.) Fried products also contain a lot of saturated fats. plants such as palm or coconut oil are also found in this group).
– Avoid smoking
– Perform physical exercise on a regular basis.
– Regularly monitor your blood pressure and blood glucose.
– You may need the help of a nutritionist to make more personalized changes to your diet.
– You may also need some treatment with a medication that lowers your LDL cholesterol level.This will depend on the values of your cholesterol and other cardiovascular risk factors.It is a decision you must make in conjunction with your trusted doctor.
5) How do I know if my test is altered?
Ans: In children and adolescents (2-18 years) a total cholesterol (TC) of <170 mg/dL, triglycerides (TG) is acceptable at <75 mg/dL (0-9 years) or <90 mg/dL (10 -18 years), while the bad cholesterol (LDL-C) is at <110 mg/dL and the good (c-HDL) at> 45. Any value that exceeds these cut-off points is considered a high risk or risk situation.
In adults, the acceptable value depends on cardiovascular risk, which depends on the presence of other risk factors, such as sex, age, the presence of high blood pressure, smoking and a history of cardiovascular disease. In subjects with a very high cardiovascular risk -those who have already had a cardiovascular episode, are diabetic, or have chronic kidney disease – their level of LDL cholesterol should be less than 70 mg / dL. While people with high cardiovascular risk, LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL.
In those with low or moderate risk (without any of the above situations) LDL cholesterol should be less than 115 mg/dL.
Triglyceride levels currently considered acceptable are less than 150 mg/dL. And HDL cholesterol levels, considered as having a higher cardiovascular risk, should be lower than 40 mg/dL in men and lower than 45 mg/dL in women.
Doctors have concluded that there is not enough evidence on the benefits of lipid profile analyses in children and adolescents under 20 years of age. If you are above that age, you should frequently get your lipid profile checkup done. If the results were normal, you should have your cholesterol checked again in a couple of years. If you are taking cholesterol medications or have a family history or are above 45 years of age, you may need to have a cholesterol test at least once a year.