Lipid Panel

What do Lipid Panel lab results mean?

The primary use of the Lipid Panel test results is to assess the risk of heart disease, specifically, “atherosclerosis,” or coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of heart attacks and the leading cause of death and illness for adult men and women.

Cholesterol, total

– high levels of Cholesterol outside the normal range have long been associated with increased risk of heart disease, depending on the breakdown of “good” and “bad” cholesterol.

HDL cholesterol

– high levels of HDL cholesterol or “good” cholesterol are actually protective of the coronary arteries. This type of cholesterol is actually dense packets of cholesterol that remove “bad” cholesterol from the blood. Exercise and balanced diet improve HDL levels. Smoking, saturated fats, and excess carbohydrates in the diet lower HDL.

LDL cholesterol

– high levels of LDL cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol are associated with increased risk of coronary artery disease. Levels below 100 are desirable in all persons. In patients with other risk factors for heart disease, LDL levels below 80 are the goal of treatment.


Triglycerides are a measure of the “fat” in the bloodstream. Triglycerides are the fats created by the body that circulates in the blood prior to being stored in the fat cells themselves. Usually associated with excess carbohydrate (starch/sugar) intake and higher insulin levels, Triglycerides are often found leading up to and accompanying Type II Diabetes. High levels of Triglycerides promote increased levels of bad LDL cholesterol and the formation of arterial plaques.

CHOL/HDL ratio

– The CHOL/HDL ratio is an indicator of risk for atherosclerosis. A low ratio is good (high HDL relative to total).

Non-HDL cholesterol

Non-HDL cholesterol is thought by many to be one of the most important numbers in estimating risk of vascular disease. As the name “Non-HDL cholesterol” suggests, it is the sum of all the “bad cholesterol” components apart from “protective” HDL.