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High-density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol, HDL-C) is one of the classes of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in the blood. HDL-C consists primarily of protein with a small amount of cholesterol. It is considered to be beneficial because it removes excess cholesterol from tissues and carries it to the liver for disposal. Hence, HDL cholesterol is often termed "good" cholesterol. The test for HDL cholesterol measures the amount of HDL-C in blood.
Artery plaqueHigh levels of cholesterol have been shown to be associated with the development of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart disease. When cholesterol levels in the blood increase (not enough is removed by HDL), it may be deposited on the walls of blood vessels. These deposits, termed plaques, can build up, causing vessel walls to become more rigid, and may eventually narrow the openings of blood vessels, constricting the flow of blood. Photo source: NHLBI
A higher level of blood HDL-C is usually associated with a lower risk of developing plaques, lowering the risk of heart attack or stroke.
HDL; HDL-C; High-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol.
Heart Disesse; Obesity; Hypertension; Diabetes; Stroke; Athrosclerosis.
To determine your risk of developing heart disease.Screening: as part of a regular health exam with a lipid profile when no risk factors for heart disease are present; once every four to six years in adults; children should have a lipid profile screening at least once between the ages of 9 and 11 and then again between the ages of 17 and 21.
Monitoring: may be done more frequently and at regular intervals as part of a lipid profile when risk factors for heart disease are present, when prior results showed high risk levels, and/or when undergoing treatment for unhealthy lipid levels
HDL-C may be ordered as part of a lipid profile during a health checkup. It is recommended that all adults with no risk factors for heart disease be tested every four to six years.
As part of a lipid profile, HDL-C may be ordered as a follow-up test when someone has a high result on a cholesterol screening test.
HDL-C, as part of the lipid profile, may be ordered more frequently for those who have one or more risk factors for heart disease. Major risk factors include:
Screening with a lipid profile is recommended for children as well as adults. Children should be tested at least once between the ages of 9 and 11 and once again between the ages of 17 and 21. As with adults, additional testing may be required for young people with other risk factors or if screening shows that levels are above the accepted levels. Some of the risk factors include a family history of heart disease or health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or being overweight. Healthcare practitioners may order lipid profile screening for children under the age of 9 if a parent has high cholesterol, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
HDL-C levels may also be ordered at regular intervals to evaluate the success of lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise or smoking cessation aimed at increasing someone's level of HDL-C. Guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend that adults taking statins have a fasting lipid profile done 4 to 12 weeks after starting therapy and then every 3 to 12 months thereafter to assure that the drug is working.