The first blood lipid test that everyone is most familiar with is total cholesterol. This tells us the amount of circulating cholesterol in your blood. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding blood lipids. The total cholesterol can then be further broken down to include the HDL or good cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol. We now know there are 5 types of HDL and these can be measured in your blood. HDL2B is associated will pulling plaque out of the blood vessel and bringing anti?oxidants to the blood vessel wall. We now know that the LDL or "bad cholesterol" has 7 different subtypes. The LDL molecule itself may be very large which is less aggressive or very small which we call small dense LDL or pattern B. If you have small dense LDL or pattern B you are much more likely to have blockage in your blood vessels as a result of your cholesterol. The fourth blood test frequently evaluated is triglycerides. Triglycerides are the form of fat that come from sugar and carbohydrates. If we are genetically predisposed to high triglycerides the more simple carbohydrates we eat like white bread, fruit juice, white rice, the higher our triglycerides will go.
Additional blood tests for evaluating lipids include LP(a). This is a protein that is genetically expressed. People who have this protein are at a much higher risk for developing blockage in their vessels. The LP(a) will attach itself to the bad cholesterol, the LDL, and make it much more aggressive. In addition, when we have our blood tested we should have an hsCRP. The hsCRP is a blood test for inflammation. Inflammation is the first step that leads to damaging of the blood vessel lining before we even begin to form plaque. High levels of inflammation for both men and women, is an independent risk factor for heart disease.