Do you know the Role of Lipids in your Heart Health

Blood sample for lipid profile test

Heart, the most crucial organ of the body, is at higher risk today and our lifestyle, eating habits, and too much stress are to be blamed. But the biggest risk factor is ignorance; ignorance in terms of being watchful. Yes, you can definitely keep a watch on your heart’s health and that is possible with the help of tests like the lipid profile test. A Lipid profile or lipid panel test, abbreviated as LPT, is a group of blood tests that acts as an initial screening method to look for any abnormalities in the lipids. So, the 4 lipids that you need to monitor to ensure heart’s health are:

1.      High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL)

HDL stands for High-Density Lipoprotein and is also known as the ‘good cholesterol’. Its main function is to reuse, reduce and recycle the bad cholesterol (LDL) by transporting it to the liver for reprocessing. HDL scrubs and cleans the inner walls of the blood vessels called endothelium as the damage to these walls can cause strokes and heart attacks. HDL Cholesterol Test measures the HDL levels against normal values. Good HDL levels are if it is above 60 mg/dL, whereas lesser than 40 mg/dL is not a good sign.

2.      Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL)

LDL stands for Low-Density Lipoprotein and is also known as the ‘bad cholesterol’. Its main function is to transport the fat molecules throughout the body in the extracellular water. High levels of LDL can be confirmed with the help of LDL Cholesterol Test. High LDL is not good for a healthy heart as it means that cholesterol is being built up in the arteries as there is too much cholesterol in the blood. This results in lack of oxygen to the heart, which will, in turn, cause chest pain, blockage or even heart attack. Hence it is very important to keep LDL under control. The recommended normal value of LDL is less than 100 mg/dL, above this, it becomes a cause of concern. Values above 190 mg/dL indicate that the person is at a very high risk to suffer with a heart problem.

 3.      Total Cholesterol

The HDL and LDL all together constitute to the Total Cholesterol. The appearance of the total cholesterol is kind of waxy, fat like that is found in each of the body. The total cholesterol reflects how healthy your heart is and higher the value, greater is your chance to get heart disease. Ideally, the desirable level of the total cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dL and any value above this requires a medical intervention. Values above 240 mg/dL are considered as high risk.

4.      Triglycerides (Glycerolipids)

Triglycerides, yet another important component to measure heart health, are a type of lipid found in the blood. The calories that are not immediately needed by the body are stored in the fat cells as triglycerides, which are later released for energy in between the meals.  High levels of triglycerides contribute towards hardening of arteries which increases the chances of heart attack, strokesand other heart problems. Extreme levels of triglycerides may result in pancreatitis (inflammation in pancreas). Therefore, it is important to maintain a normal level of triglycerides too. Triglycerides Test is used to monitor the values as less than 150 mg/dL is considered as normal and on the other hand, more than 500 mg/dL falls under ‘very high’ risk.

Who should get tested for lipid?

According to the recommendation of the American Heart Association, everyone of age 20 or above must get tested regularly at an interval of 4 to 6 years. Doctors may recommend blood lipid profile if you have a history in family for heart diseases or stroke or other risk factors:

  • Diabetes or pre-diabetes
  • Unhealthy diet
  • High blood pressure
  • High total cholesterol
  • Lack of exercise
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Smoking
  • Stress

People with potential risk must keep checking with their physician time-to-time.

The results obtained from this test are useful in identifying certain genetic diseases, some kinds of pancreatitis and risks for cardiovascular disease.

 You can lower the lipids….Yes, you can…!

You can easily maintain normal lipids levels by following a healthy lifestyle and good food habits.

Points to Remember:

  • Consume soluble fiber.
  • Increase the intake of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats while reducing the consumption of saturated and trans-fats.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption.
  • Reduce consumption of concentrated sugars.
  • Walk as much as you can on a daily basis
  • Consume foods that lower cholesterol

Now that you know the importance of lipid profile test, go for a complete lipid profile test

regularly or as prescribed by your doctor and keep track of your heart’s health.

Get tested and stay ‘hale and hearty’!

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Written by Rinki

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