Topic Overview

A lipid panel is a blood test that
lipids-fats and fatty substances used as a source of
energy by your body. Lipids include
high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and
low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

panel measures:

  • Total cholesterol
  • Triglyceride level.
  • HDL cholesterol level. This
    is the “good” cholesterol.
  • LDL cholesterol level. This is the “bad”

Other measurements that may be done for a lipid panel

  • Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol
  • The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL.
  • The ratio
    of LDL to HDL.

Lipids are found in your blood and are stored in tissues.
They are an important part of cells, and they help keep your body working
Lipid disorders, such as high cholesterol, may lead to
life-threatening illnesses, such as
coronary artery disease (CAD),
heart attack, or

Your doctor may order a lipid
panel as part of a regular health examination. Your doctor may use the results
of this test to prevent, check on, or diagnose a medical condition.

Follow your doctor’s instructions on how to prepare for this test. If your doctor tells you to fast before your test, do not eat or
drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before having your blood drawn.
Usually, you are allowed to take your medicines with water the morning of the
test. Fasting is not always necessary, but it may be recommended. Do not eat high-fat foods the night before the test. Do not drink alcohol or exercise strenuously before the

If your doctor
finds a lipid disorder, treatment may be started to help lower your blood lipid
levels. Your treatment could include medicines, diet changes, weight loss, and

To learn more, see the topic
Cholesterol and Triglyceride Tests.

Other Places To Get Help


American College of Cardiology: CardioSmart
American Heart Association


Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2013). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 6th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.
  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
  • Stone NJ, et al. (2013). 2013 ACC/AHA guideline on the treatment of blood cholesterol to reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk in adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines. Circulation, published online November 12, 2013. DOI: 10.1161/01.cir.0000437738.63853.7a. Accessed November 18, 2013.


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD – Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD – Family Medicine

Current as ofOctober 5, 2017