A coronary risk profile is a group of blood tests used to measure your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The profile can help determine your risk for heart disease.
Cholesterol is a soft, wax-like substance found in all parts of the body. Your body needs a little bit of cholesterol to work properly. But too much cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to heart disease, stroke, and other problems.
Some types of cholesterol are considered "good" and some are considered "bad." Different blood tests are needed to measure each type of cholesterol.
Lipoprotein/cholesterol analysis; Lipid profile; Lipid panel; Hyperlipidemia - testing;
Cholesterol and triglyceride test
How the test is performed
A blood sample is needed. For information on how this is done, see: Venipuncture.
Your doctor may order only a cholesterol level as the first test, which will measure cholesterol and, sometimes, HDL cholesterol levels. You may not need more cholesterol tests if your cholesterol is in the normal range.
You may also have a lipid (or coronary risk) profile, which includes:
Low density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad" cholesterol)
High density lipoprotein (HDL or "good" cholesterol)
Note: Normal value ranges may vary slightly among different laboratories. Talk to your doctor about the meaning of your specific test results.
The examples above show the common measurements for results for these tests. Some laboratories use different measurements or may test different specimens.
What abnormal results mean
Abnormal values may be a sign that you are at increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and other problems caused by blocked arteries. If your cholesterol is too high, you may need treatment to lower your cholesterol levels. This may include medicine and lifestyle changes.
Any active illness, such as a flare-up of arthritis, can change your total cholesterol number. If you have had an illness in the 3 months before having this test, you should have this test repeated in 2 or 3 months.
What the risks are
Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others.
Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include:
Fainting or feeling light-headed
Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin)
Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken)
Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults. Executive summary of the third report of the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) expert panel on detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood cholesterol in adults (Adult Treatment Panel III). JAMA. 2001;285:2486-2497. Updated 2004.
Libby P. Lipoprotein disorders and cardiovascular disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 49.
Gennest J, Libby P. Lipoprotein disorders and cardiovascular disease. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 47.
Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) of the National Cholesterol Education Program. Implications of recent clinical trials for the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines. Circulation. 2004 Jul 13; 110(2):227-39.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.