The weight around your middle may not matter. Even thin people can carry too much fat (lipids) in their blood, says family medicine physician Daniel Allan, MD. Tap or click to learn what your lipid profile reveals:
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Lipid profile: What you should know
Your lipid profile measures good cholesterol, bad cholesterol and triglycerides. When too much bad low-density protein (LDL) cholesterol builds up in your blood vessels, it causes blockages, increasing risks for heart disease, stroke and other blood vessel problems.
“Blood cholesterol comes from the food you eat, namely meat and dairy products. But your body also makes cholesterol,” says Dr. Allan. “And genetic conditions in your family can cause your body to have high cholesterol, even if you watch your diet and have a healthy weight.”
Here’s when to have your first lipid profile:
- By age 35 for men, then every five years if results are normal
- By age 45 for women, then every five years if results are normal
- Earlier and more often if you have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure or a family history of heart disease
For accurate results: No eating or drinking (except water) for 8 to 12 hours before the test!
If your results are abnormal, don’t worry! Talk to your doctor to determine next steps. Diet and exercise changes may be all you need to improve your scores. Cholesterol-lowering medication may help too.