If a recent doctor's visit determined that you don’t have good cholesterol levels, don’t panic. But do ask for additional cholesterol testing. Only then will you know what’s really going on and whether or not cholesterol is, for you, a serious heart risk factor.
Two New Cholesterol Blood Tests
The first is called the VAP test—short for vertical auto profile. This test can break cholesterol down into fractions smaller than LDL and HDL and analyze the particles comprising each of them. This is important because having a preponderance of certain types of particles can significantly raise your risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. This cholesterol testing allows doctors to more accurately identify those people.
A second cholesterol blood test that has emerged more recently is the Lipoprotein Particle Profile (LPP) offered by SpectraCell Laboratories in Houston. The LPP has an advantage over the VAP test because its methodology allows for more precise measurements, and because it can measure remnant lipoprotein (RLP). To date, no other cholesterol testing has been able to single out this important type of cholesterol.
I believe that both of these cholesterol blood tests will not only change how we treat cholesterol, but how we talk about cholesterol guidelines. It’s common to hear generalizations such as “LDL is bad cholesterol, and HDL is good cholesterol.” But in reality, both LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) are far more complex. There are multiple subtypes of both, and some of those subtypes are good and some are bad. You need to be able to identify these subtypes to determine whether your cholesterol levels are likely to lead to cardiovascular problems.
Now it's your turn: Have you had one of these new cholesterol tests?
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