Abnormal Test Result in the Lipid Profile

Differential Diagnosis

Elevated total cholesterol

Elevated LDL cholesterol

Decreased HDL cholesterol

Increased fasting triglyceride

Suggested Additional Lab Testing

Total cholesterol level

  • Can be performed on serum or plasma

  • Can be obtained fasting or non-fasting

HDL cholesterol

  • Can be performed on serum or plasma

  • Can be obtained fasting or non-fasting

LDL cholesterol level

  • Pt must be fasting if the LDL cholesterol is obtained by calculation, because the calculation involves the measurement of triglyceride, which is affected by dietary fat intake.

Triglyceride level

  • Can be obtained from serum or plasma

  • Fasting level is relevant; non-fasting levels are rarely clinically useful.

Tests to assess underlying cause of increased cholesterol or triglyceride levels if the cause for the elevation is not excess dietary intake of fat

  • Amylase and lipase measurements for pancreatitis

  • Thyroid function tests

  • Renal function tests, particularly to diagnose nephrotic syndrome, which can increase the triglyceride level

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