How to read your blood test results
Measuring both HDL and LDL together, these tests are normally conducted by your pharmacist or at home with a finger prick test kit, similar to a blood glucose monitor. They can also be conducted with your normal fasting cholesterol blood test conducted by your local lab under request of your GP
Normal value: The Australian National Heart Foundation recommends <5.5mmol/L
Further tests: Triglycerides, LDL and HDL cholesterol, apolipoproteins, homocysteine
HDL and LDL Cholesterol
Male - 0.9-2.0 mmol/L
Female - 1.0-2.2mmol/L
LDL - 2.0-3.4 mmol/L
LDL:HDL ratio - <3.7
The LDL to HDL ratio is a better indicator of your heart attack risk than the individual numbers of HDL and LDL
High levels of LDL cholesterol and/or low levels of HDL cholesterol give an LDL:HDL ratio greater than 3.7 and increase the risk of heart disease
Note: LDL levels are reduced for up to 8 weeks following and acute illness such as sever infections. Lipid values taken during this time may appear falsely normal.
Normal Values: <2.0 mmol/L (fasting)
+++Trig: Markedly increase in certain uncommon inherited lipid disorders.
+ ++Trig: Mild to moderate elevation occurs due to excess dietary fats, obesity, or conditions such as underactive thyroid, diabetes mellitus, alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver, chronic kidney failure, pancreatitis, nephrotic syndrome, Down's syndrome, the oral contraceptive pill or corticosteroid therapy.
- Trig: Low triglycerides are seen in malabsorption, overactive thyroid, chronic airways disease, stroke, end-stage liver disease. they may also occur in otherwise healthy people. Low triglycerides occur with the rare lipid disorders, hypo B lipoprteinaemic and a-B lipoproteinaemia
Lipoprotein Electrophoresis if triglycerides >4mmol/L
Normal Value: laboratory Dependent
+ Chylomicrons (type I): inherited lipoprotein lipase deficiency, Diabetes mellitus, SLE
+B and pre-B (type IIb): hyper B and pre B.
+ broad B (type III): dysB-lipoproteinaemia, Diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism.
+ pre-B (type IV): inherited hyperlipidaemia
+ pre-B and + chylomicroms (type V): apo C11 deficiency
Further Tests: Apolipoproteins
Apo A1 - >1.2g/L
Apo B - <1.2 g/L
ApoB: Apo A1 ratio - .029-0.79
Apo (a) and Apo E - Lab dependent
- apo A1 with +apo B or + apo(a) results in +Apo B:Apo A1 ratio >0.79
Indicates increase risk of arterial disease
+ apo(a): in isolation is also associated with increase risk of arterial disease
+ apo B: commonly seen in diabetes mellitus, underactive thyroid, premature coronary artery disease, liver disease, kidney failure, anorexia nervosa, pregnancy
- apo B (common): chronic anaemia, stress, burns, arthritis, liver disease, malabsorption, overactive thyroid, weight reduction.
Normal value: <15umol/L
++ Homocysteine: Genetic Abnormality, homocystinuria
+ Homocysteine: Increase risk of heart attack or stroke
Further Tests: Family and genetic studies, Fasting lipids.
If, after completing a Fasting lipid profile blood test, your GP is still insists you take cholesterol lowering medication, you can request a CT cardiovascular scan. They will inject a contrast dye into your blood stream and photograph the movement of the blood through the cardiovascular vessels. It is recommended you have someone escort you for this test, as the dye can upset your ability to drive a car after the test. With the contrast, the test will show the percentage of calcification and constriction of your blood vessels and provide you with a definitive answer on your cardiovascular disease risk. This test is not covered under medicare and is at your expense, but sometimes it’s worth the knowledge, that although your cholesterol tests may be high, there is no plaque buildup within your cardiovascular system and your heart attack risk is very low.