What is a lipid panel?
A lipid panel is a group of tests that measures cholesterol and other fats in your blood. These results can then be used to help assess your risk of heart disease or stroke. Your doctor may recommend a lipid panel if you have a family history of heart disease or stroke - or if you have any conditions that may increase your risk of heart diseases, such as high blood pressure, obesity, high total cholesterol, and more.
A lipid panel test is performed by taking a sample of blood via a finger prick. This blood is sent to a lab to measure lipid levels in the blood.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends that adult men should receive a lipid panel test every 1-2 years between the ages of 45-65. Women should be tested every 1-2 years between the ages of 55-65. Adults over the age of 65 should receive a lipid panel test every year.
Children usually receive a lipid panel test once between the ages of 9-11 and every five years after that.
More frequent testing may be recommended if you are at risk of coronary artery disease.
Common risk factors include:
- Family history of heart disease or high cholesterol - Being overweight/ obese - Cigarette smoking - Lack of physical activity/ Cardiovascular conditions - High blood pressure - Diabetes - Unhealthy diet - History of high cholesterol
If you experience one or more of the risk factors listed above, talk to your health care provider about how often you should undergo lipid testing. The test is quick and relatively painless and plays a crucial role in detecting heart and arterial diseases.