LDL Particle Testing

Testing for LDL particle size; a comprehensive approach

The traditional lipid panel which includes:

  1. Total cholesterol
  2. LDL (bad cholesterol)
  3. HDL (good cholesterol)
  4. Triglyceride

Continues to be a fairly accurate means of risk assessment and identifying those patients clearly in need of treatment.

However, there exist a large number of individuals for whom the traditional tests do not always yield an accurate measure of risk. According to the National Heart, Blood and Lung division of the NIH, approximately 50 percent of people suffering from heart attacks have tested within “normal” cholesterol numbers based on routine parameters for blood lipids. It is for these cases that clinicians continue to look for tests that are able to further granularize risk analysis and understanding.

A number of cross-sectional studies performed over the years have found differences in size and number of LDL particles between coronary heart disease (CHD) patients and healthy control subjects and concluded that the presence of small, dense LDL particles is associated with more than a three-fold increase in the risk of Coronary heart disease. For quite some time now, testing for the combination of the number and size of LDL particles has been shown to be a better predictor of future cardiovascular disease than measuring LDL cholesterol alone.

The small, dense LDL phenotype rarely occurs as an isolated disorder. It is most frequently accompanied by high triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol levels, abdominal obesity and insulin resistance, all of which are additional factors for increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

The NMR LipProfile

The NMR LipoProfile is a blood lipid test that has been shown through numerous clinical studies to be a much more accurate means than the traditional LDL-Cholesterol test for predicting future coronary heart disease (CHD) events. In addition to measuring the traditional lipid test parameters, the NMR lipoProfile also measures:

  1. LDL particle count (large and small)
  2. Small size LDL count (fewer is better)
  3. Average size of LDL particles (larger is better)
  4. HDL particles count
  5. Insulin Resistance Score (aside from inherited factors, insulin resistance is another contributory factor in increasing the LDL particles as well as reducing the size of the LDL, both factors we try to avoid. Correction of insulin resistance should be part of the treatment approach for abnormal lipoprotein particle results.)

Individuals who meet the following criteria would be appropriate candidates for the NMR LipoProfile:

  • Known cardiovascular disease
  • Insulin resistance/metabolic syndrome
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • Family history of heart disease
To discover your path to wellness and schedule a health assessment, contact us today.