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A lipids checkup is an opportunity for Dr. Suri to check and monitor the levels of cholesterol in a patient’s blood. This is done through a blood test called a lipid panel. A standard lipid file measures all of the cholesterol in the lipoprotein particles. It also measures the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) and the Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) as well as the triglycerides. More advanced panels can be ordered if a patient is at high risk for hypertension or heart disease. Most adults start to have this test every 4-6 years, although if a patient is at high risk it may be ordered more frequently.
Cholesterol is a type of fat called a lipid that is found in the blood stream. There are two kinds of cholesterol HDL, the “good” form, and LDL, the “bad” form. A certain level of each kind of cholesterol is necessary for the body to function properly. However, depending on a person’s diet, exercise levels and genetics, cholesterol can fluctuate to dangerous levels, which can lead to a variety of cardiovascular disorders. For example, if too much cholesterol accumulates in the blood vessels and arteries it can create atherosclerosis. This hardening of the arteries can, in turn, create blood flow issues that may lead to swelling and blood clots.
When an individual has high bad cholesterol it increases his or her risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Physicians also use cholesterol levels in conjunction with additional factors to identify if an individual has high blood pressure and diabetes as well.
High cholesterol usually develops as a result of poor dietary choices, including consuming too many “bad” fats, combined with a low level of physical activity. People with a family history of high cholesterol are also more at risk, and the condition also becomes more common with age.