A lipid test measures the amount of fats in the blood such as:
Cholesterol tests measure the levels of cholesterol in the blood. A serum lipid profile measures total cholesterol and HDL levels plus triglycerides.
This test is done to estimate a person's risk for heart disease. Too much cholesterol raises the risk of plaque building up in blood vessels. This can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Plaque Formation in a Blood Vessel
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There are no major problems associated with this test.
Steps to take before the test depend on the test being given. For example:
You will be asked to sit. An area inside your elbow will be cleaned with an antiseptic wipe. A large band will be tied around your arm. The needle will then be inserted into a vein. A tube will collect the blood from the needle. The band on your arm will be removed. Once all the blood is collected, the needle will be removed. Some gauze will be placed over the site to help stop bleeding. You may also be given a bandage to place over the site. The process takes about 5 to10 minutes.
After the blood sample is collected, you may need to stay seated for 10 to 15 minutes. If you are lightheaded, you may need to stay seated longer. When you feel better, you can leave.
A few minutes
It may hurt slightly when the needle is inserted.
Talk to your doctor about your test results. More testing may need to be done depending on your test results.
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Heart Association
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Dietitians of Canada
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Cholesterol. Lab Tests Online—American Association for Clinical Chemistry website. Available at: https://labtestsonline.org/tests/cholesterol. Accessed January 15, 2021.
High blood cholesterol. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/high-blood-cholesterol. Accessed January 15, 2021.
How to get your cholesterol tested. American Heart Association website. Available at :https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/how-to-get-your-cholesterol-tested. Accessed January 15, 2021.
Hypercholesterolemia. EBSCO DynaMed webite. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/hypercholesterolemia. Accessed January 15, 2021.
Winter W, Harris N, et.al. What are the goals of lipid testing? J Appl Lab Med. 2018; 2 (5): 816–818.
Last reviewed February 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 1/15/2021