The Lipid Panel is the standard and most commonly ordered cholesterol test. This test includes Total Cholesterol, Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL), Triglycerides, and Very Low-Density Lipoprotein (VLDL).
LDL is sometimes knows as the "bad" cholesterol. LDL particles can build up along the arterial walls and form plaque which increases blood pressure and damages the heart over time. HDL is sometimes called the "good" cholesterol. It breaks down other lipoproteins and transports them to the liver where they can be removed from the body. Triglycerides are fats created from calories found in food that a person eats which the body does not have a use for. VLDL contains high amounts of Triglycerides and elevated levels are associated with an increased risk for heart disease.
A Lipid panel is often ordered as a general health screening to see if someone has unhealthy cholesterol levels which can contribute to heart disease or events like heart attacks or stroke. This test is also useful for monitoring people who are being treated for high cholesterol. Cholesterol testing is recommended every five years for adults and more often for those with risk factors such as smoking, being overweight, high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease.