What Is Being Tested
Very low-density lipoprotein is one of the four major lipoprotein particles. The other three are high-density lipoprotein , low-density lipoprotein , and chylomicrons. Each particle contains a mixture of cholesterol, triglyceride, and protein, but in varying amounts unique to each type of particle. LDL contains the highest amount of cholesterol. HDL contains the highest amount of protein. VLDL and chylomicrons contain the highest amount of triglyceride.
VLDL particles are released into the blood by the liver and circulate in the bloodstream, ultimately being converted into LDL as they lose triglyceride, having carried it to other parts of the body. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s National Cholesterol Education Program Guidelines ATP III, there is growing evidence that VLDL plays an important role in atherogenesis, in which plaques form on the interior walls of arteries, narrowing these passageways and restricting blood flow, which can lead to heart disease and increase the risk of stroke.
However, this formula becomes less accurate with increased triglyceride levels when, for example, a person has not fasted before having blood drawn. The calculation is not valid when the triglyceride level is greater than 400 mg/dl because other lipoproteins are usually present. In this situation, VLDL-C may be measured directly using specialized testing.
What Is The Function Of Vldl
Although harmful when its levels are too high, VLDL plays an important role in your body. Itâs created by the liver and released into the bloodstream. The VLDL particles carry different types of fats, including triglycerides, to your cells.
LDL, on the other hand, carries more cholesterol to your tissues.
Meanwhile, HDL carries unused cholesterol from the body cells back to the liver, which removes it from your body. That’s why a higher concentration of HDL is generally considered good for the body.
How Is It Used
Very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol may be reported as part of a lipid profile, a group of tests that are often ordered together to determine risk of coronary heart disease and an important part of cardiac risk assessments.
Increased levels of VLDL-C are thought to reflect the presence of particles called lipoprotein remnants that are intermediate particles on the pathway of conversion of VLDL to LDL. When high levels of VLDL are present, the conversion of VLDL to LDL is slowed and the accumulation of intermediate particles is thought to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.
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How Do I Reduce My Vldl Cholesterol
Here are some ways to reduce the amount of VLDL cholesterol in your blood.
Eat monounsaturated fatsâ â
Monosaturated fats have one chemical double bond in them. This means your body uses them differently than saturated fats. Some good sources of monounsaturated fats are avocados, olive oil, olives, canola oil, and almonds.
A 12-week study with 20 participants found that low-to-moderate intensity exercise alleviated risk factors for cardiovascular disease in obese elderly women. Another study of 24 participants showed that the study subjects whose diet was higher in monounsaturated fats had 12% more HDL.
Monounsaturated fats also help prevent VLDL oxidation by free radicals, protecting you from heart disease. In a study of 26 participants, researchers found that a diet consisting of monounsaturated fats reduced cholesterol and fat oxidation.
âAn inactive lifestyle can increase VLDL levels in your body. Exercising keeps you healthy and increases HDL levels while lowering harmful LDL.
In a 12-week study, researchers found that resistance exercise and aerobic activity reduced the level of LDL in 20 women. The study participants only exercised for 15 minutes three times a week. The aerobic activities included jumping jacks, walking, and low-intensity Korean dance.
If you have any concerns about your cholesterol levels or you have a heart condition, talk to your doctor before making any significant changes in your physical activity or diet.
What Does The Test Measure
A VLDL cholesterol test reports an estimate of the amount of VLDL cholesterol in your blood. VLDL cholesterol is not directly measured. Instead, it is calculated using a specific equation based on triglyceride levels. In other words, the VLDL cholesterol test actually measures triglycerides in order to estimate the level of VLDL cholesterol.
The amount of VLDL cholesterol in the blood is usually measured in milligrams per deciliter . In many cases, the test will also provide the levels of other types of cholesterol in your blood.
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Triglycerides Are Not Your Friend
In fact, VLDL contains the highest percentage of triglycerides of all the cholesterols, according to the National Library of Medicine. That alone is a big fat helping of bad news. As Mayo Clinic experts explain, triglycerides are the unhealthful byproduct of unused calories.
After converting into triglycerides, those excess calories get stored inside fat cells. That’s a particular problem for those who regularly eat more food than can be burnt off because, over time, it can lead to an excessively high buildup of triglycerides and, therefore, a higher risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.
That’s why high levels of triglyceride-rich VLDL has been linked to a higher risk for plaque buildup in the arterial walls. Over time that buildup can narrow arterial pathways, reduce blood flow and ultimately increase the risk for cardiovascular complications, such as a heart attack or stroke. And that, says Sandon, means “a higher risk for heart disease.”
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What Do My Vldl Blood Test Results Mean
Your VLDL blood test results can be low, normal, or abnormal. Low VLDL results are below 2 mg/dL and generally arent considered to be a factor in the development of coronary heart disease.
Normal VLDL blood test results are in the 2-30 mg/dL range for most patients. These values might change slightly based on your medical profile or the standards of the laboratory that is performing the cholesterol testing.
Abnormal or high VLDL results are above 30 mg/dL. This generally indicates that a patient is at a higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and atherosclerosis. It does not indicate that these health conditions are currently present or that they will happen. Some people have naturally high levels of VLDL and never develop heart disease signs or symptoms.
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How Can I Lower My Vldl Level
Since VLDL and triglycerides are linked, you can lower VLDL level by lowering your triglyceride level. You may be able to lower your triglycerides with a combination of losing weight, diet, and exercise. It is important to switch to healthy fats, and cut back on sugar and alcohol. Some people may also need to take medicines.
Vldl Blood Test Results Fully Explained
Testing for cholesterol levels in the blood has become a common method of preventing future heart health issues. HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, along with triglycerides and total cholesterol levels, have been common blood tests ordered by doctors for more than a generation. One of the newer tests, the VLDL blood test, tests for what is known as the very low density lipoprotein. VLDL contains the highest numbers of triglycerides and is the most likely cholesterol to begin building up on arterial walls.
The VLDL blood test may be ordered to determine a persons overall risk of coronary heart disease or atherosclerosis. It may also be ordered by a treating doctor to see how effective a treatment plan may be. There is no direct method of testing VLDL with a specific test, however, so most laboratories will report results by calculating this result from your overall triglyceride levels.
VLDL is generally about 20% of your total triglycerides.
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Questions For Your Doctor About Test Results
Your doctor is in the best position to answer questions about your VLDL cholesterol level and what the results of your test mean for your health. These are some questions you can ask to get detailed information about your VLDL cholesterol results:
- What is my VLDL cholesterol level?
- Did you measure other types of cholesterol? If so, what were the results?
- Do I have risk factors for cardiovascular disease?
- Do you recommend I have another cholesterol test? If so, when?
- Are there any other tests needed to evaluate my cardiovascular health?
- What are the next steps in my care? Do I need to make any lifestyle changes or take any medications to reduce my risk of developing heart disease or other health conditions?
What Are The Risks Of High Vldl Levels
If the body has more VLDL than it needs, the surplus circulates in the blood, contributing to the buildup of plaque.
Plaque is a fatty, sticky substance comprising fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other materials in the blood. Over time, it sticks to the inside of the arteries and then hardens, making them narrower. The term for this process is atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis stops the blood from being able to flow freely around the body. Every cell needs a ready supply of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to survive.
Therefore, high levels of VLDL can contribute to atherosclerosis, which can make a person more susceptible to heart disease or stroke.
Having too many triglycerides, which are the fats that VLDL carries, can also increase a persons risk of developing non-alcohol-related fatty liver disease.
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When Should I Get A Vldl Cholesterol Test
Recommendations for when to be tested for VLDL cholesterol depend on a number of factors including your age, any family history of high cholesterol , and other risk factors.
It is helpful to talk with your doctor about your personal health history and your family history to decide when cholesterol testing is appropriate for you. Here is a general guide for when cholesterol testing may be recommended:
|With or without risk factors||Annually|
Many initial cholesterol tests do not include VLDL cholesterol. However, your doctor may choose to have VLDL cholesterol calculated to obtain more information about your specific cholesterol levels.
When Should I Have My Cholesterol Checked
Most medical providers recommend that patients have their cholesterol levels checked based on some combination of age and health factors. Some organizations recommend that everyone between the ages of 20-79 have their cholesterol levels checked every 4-6 years to have their risk factors evaluated. If patients have risk factors for heart disease, cholesterol testing is recommended as early as the age of 17.
In the United States, the Preventative Services Task Force recommends cholesterol testing for men who are the age of 35 or older or men and women 20 or older who have risk factors for heart disease. Public cholesterol tests are available, but these may not contain VLDL results that your treating doctor may want.
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Who Needs To Get Their Vldl Tested
VLDL is not usually tested on its own but is added on to standard lipid and cholesterol tests, if desired. Most of the time, VLDL wont give additional helpful information if you already know your triglyceride number. But your healthcare provider might order a separate VLDL test to get a fuller picture of your health, especially if something about your case is unusual. If you dont have this test, your practitioner probably still will have enough information to guide your health treatment.
Adults need regular screenings included on standard cholesterol and lipid tests. These usually include such values as HDL, LDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. You might need more frequent tests if you are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease. For example, this might be necessary if you have any of the following risk factors:
- Reducing or avoiding alcohol
- Quitting smoking
Even after making such changes, some people still have a high risk of having a heart attack or stroke. If thats the case, you might need a medication, like a statin, to help lower your risk. Your clinician will also need to assess whether another medication you are already taking might actually be increasing your VLDL and your triglycerides.
How Can I Lower My Vldl
Because of the relationship between VLDL and triglycerides, you can lower your VLDL cholesterol level by taking steps to lower your triglyceride level. These include making healthy lifestyle changes, such as losing excess weight and exercising regularly. It has also been advised to avoid sugary foods and alcohol in particular since these have a strong effect on triglycerides. Cholesterol-lowering medication may also be recommended. Talk to your healthcare provider about what is right for you.
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Research Shows Not All Ldl Cholesterol Is Alike
Nearly one in four people found to have LDL cholesterol in the desirable level through the traditional calculation method actually may have needed more aggressive treatment, according to a study at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine published in 2013 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The newer way of calculating LDL cholesterol, which the same researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association later that year, provides a more individual and accurate assessment of risks.
Ldl Vs Vldl Target Levels
LDL and VLDL are both “lipoprotein packages” in your blood. Both are considered “bad” types of cholesterol. They differ in what each package carries.
LDL cholesterol carries mostly cholesterol, some protein, and minimal triglycerides throughout your circulation. LDL should be less than 130 mg/dl, and ideally less than 100 mg/dl.
VLDL cholesterol contains minimal protein and mainly transports triglycerides. VLDL should be less than 40 mg/dL.
To prevent VLDL and LDL from clogging your arteries, follow and consume antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables.
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What Is This Test
This test measures the amount of very low-density lipoprotein in your blood.
VLDL cholesterol is a type of blood fat. It’s considered one of the “bad” forms of cholesterol, along with LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. This is because high levels cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to a heart attack. Sixty percent of a VLDL particle is a triglyceride,
This test is usually used along with a series of other tests in a general lipid profile to screen for cardiovascular disease . High levels of VLDL cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood may mean you are at risk for CVD. People who are obese also have higher levels of VLDL cholesterol.
A More Accurate Measurement Tool
The traditional Friedewald equation estimates LDL cholesterol this way: total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol minus triglycerides divided by five. For simplicitys sake, the formula applies a one-size-fits-all factor of five to everyone. But Johns Hopkins researchers found that this often makes LDL cholesterol appear lower than it really is for some high-risk patients. The researchers sought a more accurate formula that would take into account specific details about a persons cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Using a database of blood lipid samples from more than 1.3 million Americansalmost 3,000 times larger than the one used to develop the Friedewald equation Johns Hopkins researchers developed a more accurate system for calculating LDL cholesterol. It can be used to make more precise decisions about treatment to prevent heart attack and stroke.
This newer LDL cholesterol formula is being adopted by U.S. laboratories as well as others around the world. The best implementation is direct coding the LDL cholesterol estimation in the lab IT system, which automates the process and saves clinicians time. The formula is also available as a mobile device app called the LDL Cholesterol Calculator. It is available on the iTunes App Store and on Google Play, for those whose lab hasnt adopted it.
Researchers hope the new formula will one day be adopted by all labs that process lipid panels, as it can improve patient care.
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Cholesterol Triglyceride And Protein Content Of Ldl And Vldl
The liver releases VLDL into circulation. VLDL is made up of 55 to 65 percent triglycerides, 10 to 15 percent cholesterol, 15 to 20 percent phospholipid, and 5 to 10 percent protein.
Once the VLDL is released, enzymes in the bloodstream interact with the triglycerides within the lipoprotein and change the package from “very low density” to “low density”. LDL is “less dense” than VLDL because it has lost a large chunk of triglycerides, changing its concentration to 10 percet triglycerides, 45 percent cholesterol, 22 percent phospholipid, and 25 percent protein.
There is an intermediate step between the VLDL and LDL, but let’s keep it simple and stick with the more general overview of what is taking place.
Finding A Vldl Cholesterol Test
Most laboratories that perform cholesterol and triglyceride testing are able to report a VLDL cholesterol value. While some at-home testing is available, typically VLDL levels are not reported through these solutions. Instead, your doctor will typically order the VLDL level as part of an evaluation of other cholesterols and/or triglycerides.
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What Are Some Things That Can Affect My Cholesterol Levels
There are a variety of factors that can affect your cholesterol. While some things are unavoidable like age and family history, making heart-healthy lifestyle changes such as balanced meal plans, regular exercise, and weight management goes a long way to improving your long-term health, said Chiadika.
- Diet Foods rich in saturated fat or trans fat have the biggest impact on your blood cholesterol levels. Consider healthier options to help reduce intake of these types of fats.
- Obesity Being overweight raises your triglycerides levels and lowers your HDL. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes regularly.
- Smoking This not only lowers your HDL level but also raises your LDL level. Eliminate this habit or look into a smoking cessation program.
- Age Cholesterol levels tend to rise as we age. Although less common, children and teens can also have high levels as well.
- Family history High cholesterol can run in families. In most cases, children with high cholesterol have a parent who also has elevated levels of cholesterol.