What is a lipid profile?

A lipid profile (or lipid panel) is a blood test which measures the concentrations of fats and cholesterol in the blood, and can be used to assess so-called ‘good cholesterol’ versus ‘bad cholesterol’ levels.

Importance of a lipid profile

The significance of this test is the relationship between an abnormal lipid profile and atherosclerosis, the cause of many cases of heart disease and strokes.

Lipid profile test procedure

The lipid profile test is a blood test which needs to performed with the patient in a fasted state – usually at least 10 (ten) hours after food and usually in the morning. A few millilitres of blood is taken from a vein.

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Why would you need a lipid profile?

The lipid profile test is usually performed as a screening test in otherwise healthy people, in order to estimate their cardiovascular risk (of heart attack or stroke).

The test is almost routinely performed in people admitted to hospital for suspected angina or suspected stroke.

Lipid profile interpretation

The results from a lipid profile may be used to guide the decision to start cholesterol-lowering agents, but it should be noted that these medications may often be prescribed in the presence of a relatively normal lipid profile, depending on other cardiovascular risk factors or the presence of established heart disease or cerebrovascular disease.

Related specialists

Related procedures

  • Coronary Angiography

Related tests

  • Total Cholesterol (TC)
  • High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol
  • Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides (TG)
  • Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLDL)

Also known as

  • Lipid panel
  • Fasting Lipids
  • Cholesterol


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This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. If in doubt, HealthEngine recommends consulting with a registered health practitioner.

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