Cholesterol Tests You Need To Have
Learn about the latest cholesterol tests that can flag the most dangerous subtypes of cholesterol
If you really want to find out how much risk your cholesterol level poses, I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t rely on a traditional lipid panel to do the job. Such tests measure total LDL, HDL, and triglycerides, and they’re what most doctors will order—but they’re a dinosaur!
Granted, standard blood lipid tests are useful for determining whether your ratio of total HDL to LDL cholesterol is within a healthy range. But they won’t tell you about your HDL and LDL fractions (that is, whether you have predominantly small dense cholesterol particles, or large buoyant ones).
Particle size is extraordinarily important, because research shows that small dense LDL cholesterol is inflammatory and toxic to blood vessels. And even more troubling is a high level of Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a)—the most dangerous of the blood lipids. Lp(a) is a specific type of small LDL cholesterol particle, and it inflames the blood and makes it sticky—making it more prone to clotting.
When It Comes To Cholesterol, Size and Subtype Matter
Obviously, the more of the dangerous cholesterol particles you have, the more aggressively you’ll need to treat your cholesterol level—because the more you have, the greater your risk for cardiovascular disease. That’s why it’s imperative that you talk to your doctor about having either the Vertical Auto Profile (VAP) test or the Lipoprotein Particle Profile (LPP) test.
- Vertical Auto Profile (VAP) test. This test will analyze your LDL cholesterol and determine if it is made up of predominantly the small, dangerous particles, or larger, more benign particles. It will also tell you how much Lp(a) is circulating in your blood. In addition, the VAP test breaks out your HDL cholesterol subtypes, letting you know if you have more of the HDL2 subtype, which is most beneficial. You can find out more about the VAP test at www.atherotech.com.
- Lipoprotein Particle Profile (LPP) test. The LPP test also breaks down cholesterol into fractions smaller than LDL and HDL and analyzes the particles comprising each of them, just like the VAP test. But I believe the LPP test has an advantage over the VAP test because its methodology allows for more precise measurements and because it can also measure remnant lipoprotein (RLP), which is a more threatening type of cholesterol that isn’t singled out by most other lipid tests. You can find out more about the LPP test at www.spectracell.com.
WATCH: Is Your Cholesterol Level in the Healthy Range?
More Dr. Sinatra Advice on Achieving Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Want to achieve optimal cholesterol levels with your diet? Learn about the dietary changes that are necessary for healthy cholesterol levels.
Want to achieve optimal cholesterol levels with nutritional supplements? Discover which nutrients you need to add to your supplementation program to promote healthy cholesterol levels.
Want to achieve optimal cholesterol levels with exercise? Find out about the positive impact regular exercise can have on your cholesterol levels.
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Meet Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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