How Do You Interpret Your Lipid Profile?


Quick Answer

To interpret a lipid profile, patients must understand the goal levels of cholesterol and its components as well as triglyceride levels. A lipid profile tells a patient how much fatty substances exist in his blood, explains Providence Health & Services.

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Full Answer

Doctors order lipid panels to measure how much cholesterol and triglycerides are in a patient's blood. A lipid profile after a blood test provides numerical values that indicate the amount of fat in the body. A total cholesterol measure measures both HDL and LDL cholesterol, and a normal value is 100 to 199 mg for those 21 years old and older, notes Cleveland Clinic. People younger than 21 should have a total cholesterol level in the 75 to 169 mg range.

Another important value in a lipid profile is the HDL level. HDL, considered to be the “good” cholesterol, should measure 40 mg or more. Conversely, the level of LDL cholesterol, or “bad” cholesterol, should be lower than 130 milligrams for most patients, according to Cleveland Clinic. Triglycerides, which consist of a type of fat found in blood, should measure at a level lower than 150 mg. Knowledge of these measures of a lipid profile can help patients better understand their body and overall health.

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