Decoding Your Lab Report (Continued)
Name That Test
For diabetes, there are several panels of tests a doctor may order for either diagnosis or maintenance of the disease.
The most feared/revered of all the tests, the A1C measures blood glucose control over a 2- to 3-month period. This is the standard test used to determine blood glucose control in people with diabetes.
The lipid profile tests blood fats and are used to determine the risk of heart disease or stroke. High triglyceride and cholesterol levels can be caused by diabetes. Some tests are:
- HDL-C –HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol and contains the highest amount of protein. It should be greater than 40 mg/dl (2.2 mmol/l) in men and greater than 50 mg/dl (2.7 mmol/l) in women.
- LDL-C –LDL cholesterol, which contains the highest amount of cholesterol, is also called bad cholesterol because LDL deposits can build up on the walls of arteries, should be below 100 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/l). The target for high-risk level patients, including those with diabetes, is less than 70 mg/dl (3.9 mmol/l).
- Triglycerides –levels should be less than 150 mg/dl (8.3 mmol/l).
- VLDL-C –Very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is part of an extended profile your doctor may order. It is the third of the major lipoprotein particles (the other two being HDL and LDL). VLDL contains the highest amount of triglyceride.
- Non-HDL-C – also part of the extended profile, Non-HDL-cholesterol can build up in the arteries, form plaques, and cause narrowing of the vessels and blockages.
Related tests: Direct LDL-C; Homocysteine; Lp-PLA2 (Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2); hs-CRP (High-sensitivity C-reactive protein); Apo A (Apolipoprotein A-I); Apo B (Apolipoprotein B-100); Lp(a) (Lipoprotein (a))
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Ten years ago, I sat in my Primary Care Physician's office. I had just been weighed and measured. A nurse had just taken my vitals and my blood pressure had come in a bit higher than usual, which was no wonder because I sat there a nervous wreck. In the year since my last physical, I'd gained another fourteen pounds. I was the heaviest I'd ever been, the scale clocking me in at 228 at 5'3" tall. I honestly couldn't believe it. I knew that I hadn't gotten my eating habits under control in...