If your healthcare provider believes you may have a lipid disorder, you will need a blood test. You should also expect to be asked questions about your health history, symptoms, risk factors and family history of disease. Understanding your background will help your provider make a diagnosis.

Your provider will order a blood test called a lipid panel or a lipid profile. This test measures your lipid levels, including:

  • LDL cholesterol. LDL is also known as “bad” cholesterol because high levels can cause fatty materials to build up in the arteries and form plaque, a cardiovascular disease called atherosclerosis. High levels of LDL can raise your risk for heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and peripheral artery disease.
  • HDL cholesterol. HDL, or “good” cholesterol, helps remove LDL cholesterol. If HDL levels are too low, you may be at a higher risk for developing heart disease.
  • Triglycerides. When your body doesn’t use calories for energy immediately, it converts the extra calories into triglycerides, which your body stores in fat cells until they are needed. High triglyceride levels also increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.