WHAT IS IT?
A lipid panel is a very routinely ordered test. It will measure the amount of lipids that are present in the serum of a patient. The major components of this lab study include:
- Cholesterol (total cholesterol): this value is measures the net amount of cholesterol that is present in the serum.
- Triglycerides: this value represents the net amount of triglycerides that is present in the serum.
- High density lipoprotein (HDL): the concentration of “good cholesterol” in the blood.
- Low density lipoprotein (LDL): the concentration of “bad cholesterol” in the blood.
WHY DO WE DO IT?
This clinical study can be done in various contexts, but fundamentally is done to try and characterize the amount of lipids present in the blood of patients.
HOW IS IT DONE?
This lipid panel is a blood test that is conducted on venous blood. With that in mind, there is some nuance as to how the lab values are calculated.
- Concentrations measured directly: total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides are all concentrations that are measured directly from the serum.
- LDL (calculated concentration): it is important to recognize that in a standard lipid panel LDL is not measured directly. It is calculated from the other values in the following manner:
LDL = Total cholesterol – HDL – (Triglycerides/5)
WHAT ARE THE REFERENCE VALUES?
The below reference values are just one general example. They can vary from population to population.
- Cholesterol (total cholesterol): the general recommendation is <200 mg/dL
- Triglycerides: 30 – 200 mg/dL
- High density lipoprotein (HDL): 35 – 95 mg/dL
- Low density lipoprotein (LDL): <130 mg/dL
WHAT DOES IT TELL US?
This study will only tell us the concentrations of each lipid component in the blood.
WHAT CAN’T IT TELL US?
This test can not explain what exactly is causing the levels of lipids in the blood to be the values they are.
Page Updated: 08.18.2016