Interpreting lipid profiles in a general blood test for health.
THE test I usually pay the most attention to is the cholesterol screen or lipid profile. Please elaborate a bit about such tests.
Yes, we Malaysians are a cholesterol-screening sensitive bunch! The lipid profile is a group of blood tests that are very often ordered as part of a general blood screening, or they can also be ordered singly.
Since so much has been written about the risks of heart attacks and coronary heart disease in general, Malaysians are more apt to be conscious of what’s inside the lipid profile.
High Ldl-cholesterol and low Hdl-cholesterol are two of the risk factors associated with coronary heart disease (CHD). It is in the lipid profile that you see these levels.
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in your blood after its conversion in your liver. Some of it comes from the food you eat – the more fat you eat, the higher your cholesterol. But since so much of it is produced by your own liver, and this has a genetic basis, you can’t help having high cholesterol even if you are really careful about your diet if you have a family history of high cholesterol.
Please bear in mind that you need cholesterol for your daily cell function. You cannot live without cholesterol. It is the excess that leads to disease. DESPITE a concern about restricting scientific knowledge, the risks of publishing potentially dangerous bird flu research outweigh the benefits, says a University of Michigan (U-M) virologist and member of a federal advisory board that recently made the recommendation that details of the research not be published by two prominent scientific journals.
After two studies detailed how the H5N1 virus, or the avian flu, could potentially become transmissible between humans, there was concern that, if made public, the details of the research could be used by terrorists or others bent on harming a large number of people, says U-M virologist Michael Imperiale, a member of the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB).
The NSABB reviewed the submitted research and requested details of the experiments be withheld from the journals Science and Nature, based on concerns regarding public safety.
“If this information on how to make the virus transmissible got into the wrong hands, then that could be a huge problem,” Imperiale says. “Because worldwide, we’re just not prepared to deal with an influenza pandemic. Better to be cautious now, and let the details What is in a lipid profile?
These are the test results you can look out for:
> Total cholesterol (TC): ideally, this should be below 5.2 mmol/l. This sums up all the cholesterols that are being measured, such as Ldl-cholesterol and Hdl-cholesterol. The higher your total cholesterol, the higher your risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
> High density lipoprotein (HDLC): this is also called the “good cholesterol”. A lipoprotein is a molecule that combines both lipids and protein. HDL is considered “good” because it takes away the excess cholesterol from your blood and brings it to your liver.
The higher your HDL, the better protection you have for your heart and blood vessels. In general, women tend to have higher HDLS than men. Sometimes, you can also have a high HDL due to excessive consumption of alcohol.
Yes, some people try to “cheat” their way into having a high HDL by drinking lots of alcohol! But remember, there are plenty of other diseases associated with drinking excessive alcohol such as liver cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis.
So it’s either this organ being damaged or the other one.
Normal ranges are between 1.04 and 1.55 mmol/l. And yes, this is one test that you aim to go higher than the upper limits!
> Low density lipoprotein (LDLC): this is also called the “bad cholesterol”. This is because its function is to take the cholesterol from your Restriction or responsibility? University of Michigan researcher explains decision to withhold bird flu research from the public. blood and carry it to your cells.
If you are relatively healthy, you should aim for a level of less than 4.1 mmol/l. Anything higher than this and you are considered to have high LDL-C. For high-risk patients (such as those having coronary artery disease or diabetes), you should aim for a LDL-C level of less than 2.6 mmol/l.
High levels of LDL-C are related to an increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease. And yes, this means heart attacks and angina.
> Triglycerides (TG): this has been also found to be associated with heart and blood vessel disease, unlike what was previously thought long ago. They can be raised in diabetics or people who eat sugars and drink alcohol. They are also likely to be raised in people who are out later when we’re more prepared, whereas if you let it out now, you can’t pull it back if there’s a problem.”
The board’s explanation of its recommendation was published recently online in Science and Nature. The manuscripts remain unpublished until the issue of how to dis- overweight, have thyroid or liver disease, and certain genetic conditions. Normal values should be less than 1.7 mmol/l. How long do I need to fast for a lipid profile?
Actually, you do not need to fast when going for total cholesterol or HDL-C. The ones you need to fast for are LDL-C and TG. You need a 12-hour fast, preferably with no food or drinks except for plain water. I see this test called ‘uric acid’ in my blood profile. What does that measure?
Your uric acid normal range should be 155 to 357 micromol/l. High levels indicate hyperuricaemia, or having a lot of uric acid in seminate the information to those with a legitimate need to know is resolved.
The board’s decision has caused a stir in the research community because of the precedent it creates for restricting the availability of potentially risky, yet beneficial knowledge. Imperiale says the board’s decision was a your blood. High uric acid is associated with diseases like gout and gouty arthritis. n Dr YLM graduated as a medical doctor, and has been writing for many years on various subjects such as medicine, health advice, computers and entertainment. For further information, e-mail email@example.com. The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information. difficult one, and the concerns of limiting research were not taken lightly.
However, he says, the responsibility to public health and safety outweighed the concerns in this instance.
“We have to look at the world in which we live; we know there are individuals who do want to do harm to mankind for whatever reason,” Imperiale says. “We have to be aware that as scientists we have a responsibility to the public. We’re doing this research to benefit the public so we owe it to them to show we’re behaving responsibly.”
Imperiale said the research details will be available to those who can use them to further the science and safety surrounding bird flu pandemics.
“It’s important to know what types of changes or mutations would allow the virus to become transmissible and to allow legitimate scientists an opportunity to follow up on this research,” he says.
“Our best defence against terrorism is a strong offence. If we can move the science forward, then we will be prepared to deal with all these things.”
Ultimately, Imperiale says the scientific research community must be more aware of the responsibility it has to the public, and perhaps this incident will increase that awareness.
“We want to show we’re thinking about these issues throughout the research process, and I think that’s the thing that will hopefully change in the community,” he says. “Maybe this particular incident is an eye-opener to the scientific community that we really need to be more engaged with the public because of the special responsibility that we have as scientists.” – Healthnewsdigest.com