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Lipid Panel

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Lipid Panel

Lipid Panel at AFC Urgent Care Willow Grove

What is a lipid panel?

A lipid panel, one of the many diagnostic tests available at AFC Urgent Care Willow Grove, is used to check a patient's cardiovascular health by examining the cholesterol in their blood. An excess amount of cholesterol can build up in the blood and cause damage to arteries and other blood vessels. This damage can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other heart disease.

There are several reasons why a provider at AFC Urgent Care Willow Grove may order a lipid panel:

Monitoring: If previous lipid panels showed abnormal results, or if a patient has a family history of heart disease, a lipid panel may be ordered to monitor their health.

Screening: Routine screening is often ordered by providers if there has not been a recent lipid panel. This lets providers know if a patient's cholesterol is high-risk, intermediate, or borderline.

Diagnosis: Besides examining cholesterol, a lipid panel can be used to diagnose other conditions. For example, abnormal lipid results can indicate diseases that impact the liver.

Checking Response To Patient Treatment: If a patient has started to take medications to control cholesterol or has been told to make lifestyle changes, a lipid channel can see if the body is responding to those changes.

What does a lipid panel measure?

Fat molecules in the blood are called lipids. Two important types of lipids are triglycerides and cholesterol. A lipid panel will analyze the blood of a patient and measure various types of lipids, including:

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol - This is frequently called "bad cholesterol." LDL can collect in blood vessels and increase a patient's chance of cardiovascular disease.
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol - This type of cholesterol is known as "good cholesterol) and can help reduce the buildup of cholesterol in the bloodstream.
  • Triglycerides: Too much triglycerides in the blood can cause pancreatic inflammation and is often associated with cardiovascular disease.
  • Total Cholesterol: This will measure the overall cholesterol level in a patient's bloodstream.

What do the numbers in a lipid panel test mean?

The lipid panel test results are measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). The ranges for total cholesterol in adults fall into these three categories:

  • Normal: Less than 200 mg/dL
  • Borderline High: 200 to 239 mg/dL
  • High: At or above 240 mg/dL

The adult ranges for LDL cholesterol in lipid panels are:

  • Optimal: Less than 100 mg/dL
  • Near-optimal: 100 to 129 mg/dL
  • Borderline high: 130 to 159 mg/dL
  • High: 160 to 189 mg/dL
  • Very high: 190 mg/dL and higher

For HDL cholesterol, the measurement should be above 40 mg/dL. The higher the number, the lower a patient's risk is for heart disease. A 60 mg/dL measurement is the level that someone needs to protect themselves from heart disease.

For triglycerides, the ranges providers use for a lipid panel are:

  • Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL
  • Borderline high: 150 to 199 mg/dL
  • High: 200 to 499 mg/dL
  • Very high: Above 500 mg/dL

What are some recommendations and reasons to get a lipid panel for screening purposes?

Lipid panel screening aims to look for health problems before any symptoms or other signs of health issues. A lipid panel can identify someone as being at high risk for cardiovascular disease before they begin to develop heart disease or suffer a heart attack. The general guide for when patients should be screened varies by medical organization and also by various risk factors.

For adults without any risk for cardiovascular disease or a family history of cardiovascular disease, screenings are generally done every five years starting in the early 20's. However, risk factors may cause providers to increase the frequency of lipid panels to screen for health problems. Some risk factors include:

  • Men over the age of 45
  • Women over the age of 50
  • Cigarette use
  • Overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Previous cardiovascular problem
  • Not getting enough physical activity
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Diabetes or prediabetes
  • Having a close relative develop heart disease at an early age.

If a patient has some of the risk factors above, a lipid panel may be ordered yearly or every couple of years. The frequency of future tests may depend on the results of these tests.

For adults over 65, a lipid test is often ordered yearly. This may stop, or the frequency may decrease if cholesterol levels are stable.

Children without risk factors may receive a lipid panel test before puberty to screen for problems and then again at age 16. Due to changes in the body, the accuracy of lipid tests is often less between the ages of 12 and 16 during puberty.

Children with risk factors may get a lipid panel every few years, starting at age 2. Screening is more frequent if they have a high risk of familial hypercholesterolemia, an inherited condition that can cause heart problems at a young age and requires more screening. Screening for health issues with children at high risk for these conditions is often done at age 3, between the ages of 9 and 11, and at age 18.

When are lipid panels used for monitoring?

Lipid panels are used for monitoring when a patient has had a previous test with high levels or has suffered a cardiac event like a stroke or heart attack. Medication and lifestyle changes are often needed to help mitigate risk factors, and lipid panels are used to see if the body is responding to these changes. A lipid panel is also used to see if medication needs to be adjusted to achieve the desired results.

What are some things a lipid panel is used to diagnose health conditions?

Besides issues with a patient's cholesterol, other conditions can be indicated in a lipid panel test. They include:

  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Pancreatitis

The AFC Urgent Care Willow Grove experts can help you with your Lipid Panel testing needs. Samples are collected at our urgent care center; you will get your results as quickly as possible.

We are open 7 days a week and no appointments are ever needed. Call (267) 495-5455 if you have any questions.

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