What Are Cholesterol Tests and How Can They Help You?
As you probably know already, cholesterol is a waxy substance that lines the interior of your blood vessels. It's produced by your own body, but you can also take your required daily cholesterol from foods. In normal quantities, cholesterol is essential for your body as it shields your tissues against damage and helps build new cells.
However, too much cholesterol can clog some of your veins and arteries and this is where problems start to appear. High levels of cholesterol are usually associated with cardiovascular diseases. That's why cholesterol tests have been developed.
These tests help you find out if your lipids (including cholesterol) are within normal ranges. Since high cholesterol is associated with life-threatening diseases, it's paramount to test yourself regularly and see if your lipids are in normal ranges. Keep reading to find out more.
Substances Checked by Cholesterol Tests
There are different types of lipid panels and cholesterol tests that check a series of substances. In particular, the cholesterol blood test will look at your high-density lipoprotein (HDL or "good cholesterol") and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad cholesterol") levels. Both are important to get an accurate snapshot of your lipid levels.
Secondly, cholesterol tests will also look at your triglycerides. These are substances where your body deposits excessive fat content. In other words, whatever calories you don't burn are stored as triglycerides by your system. Overweight and obese people usually have excessively high amounts of triglycerides.
For example, normal levels of triglycerides should be less than 150 mg/dL of blood. Similarly, HDL cholesterol should be over 60 mg/dL and LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL of blood. An affordable cholesterol test or basic lipid panel can reveal all these details about your health, so you know if you're at risk for cardiovascular problems.
Advanced Lipid Panel
In some cases, you might need more information about your lipid levels and this is the moment when you can order an Advanced Lipid Panel. It contains a battery of tests that look at your lipids in greater detail. For example, you get information about your apolipoproteins, the size of your HDL and LDL cholesterol particles, the HDL/LDL ratio and more.
This type of panel is usually suitable for those who are at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. It will help your doctor produce a more accurate diagnosis regarding your condition and a tailored treatment plan to optimize your lipids.
On top of cholesterol and triglyceride levels, there are other indicators that could help medical professionals come up with a more accurate diagnosis. For example, the apolipoprotein B (apo B) test is used to accurately diagnose coronary artery disease. This is a life-threatening illness that affects the veins and arteries that supply blood to your heart.
Scientists discovered that apo B can be elevated in patients with coronary artery disease even if LDL cholesterol is within normal ranges. If the results of your basic cholesterol panel are abnormal, your doctor might order an apo B test to see if you're at risk or already have coronary artery disease.
Similarly, apolipoprotein A-1 is another substance checked by advanced lipid panels. This substance is made mostly of the protein contained by HDL cholesterol. It's a well-known fact that low levels of HDL can increase your risk of developing coronary artery disease. However, medical doctors use apo A-1 to confirm a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease as this substance is a much more accurate predictor of heart illness.
Symptoms of Lipid Disorders
Unfortunately, having high cholesterol or triglyceride levels doesn't really cause any symptoms. You will not have headaches or indigestion, but in extreme cases, fatty bumps can develop at the surface of the skin. As mentioned earlier, overweight, or obese people usually have abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but a blood test provides the safest way to check your lipid levels.
If high lipid levels cause coronary artery disease, then you might experience certain symptoms. For example, shortness of breath as well as chest pain and discomfort in your shoulders can be indicative of heart problems. Also, feeling pressure in your chest might be associated with coronary artery disease or a problem with the blood supply to your heart. Don't ignore these symptoms.
Complications Caused by Untreated Lipid Disorders
Having high lipid levels can cause a whole range of problems in your body and some of them can be life-threatening. For example, coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis usually develop if your cholesterol levels are high. Atherosclerosis means that your veins and arteries become narrower and this can lead to increased blood pressure.
High triglyceride levels can also lead to visceral fat which consists of fatty tissues that wrap your vital organs such as kidneys and liver. Too much fat in the body can promote the development of toxic and cancerous hormones and substances which can threaten your health and well-being even more.
Finally, in worst-case scenarios, untreated lipid disorders can lead to heart attacks or strokes. This happens when a blood vessel becomes clogged and stops the passing of blood. If the blood supply to a vital organ is prevented, the consequences can be severe. It's best to avoid such scenarios by testing yourself periodically. The basic lipid panel, for example, is inexpensive and it provides an excellent starting point to improve your health.
Order Your Cholesterol Test Today!
As you can see, these affordable tests can reveal so many details related to your health. Cholesterol blood tests are very popular and an effective tool to prevent serious diseases such as atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, and others.
Make sure that you go to DiscountedLabs.com and order your cholesterol blood test today! You can select from basic lipid panels that look at your triglycerides and cholesterol levels as well as more complex batteries of tests such as the Cardio IQ Advanced Lipid Panel.
HDL cholesterol: How to boost your 'good' cholesterol - Mayo Clinic
LDL Cholesterol: Definition, Risks, and How to Lower It
Apolipoprotein B100: Purpose, Procedure and Risks