Direct LDL cholesterol

Other names: Direct LDL-C; DLDL; Direct LDL; LDL D; Direct Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol

LDL (low density lipoprotein) is often referred to as ’bad’ cholesterol; it contributes to fatty deposits collecting on the walls of the arteries and can be very dangerous if present in high levels in the body. The LDL test measures the concentration of LDL in the blood and can be used as a marker for risk of heart disease. The direct LDL test can be useful when a patient has increased levels of triglycerides, as they interfere with the results of the lipid profile test.

When is the test used?

The direct LDL test is used to measure the levels of LDL in the blood; the test can be useful in determining if a patient has a high risk of developing heart disease.

The test may be ordered if a patient’s lipid profile test suggests that they have elevated levels of triglycerides; the direct LDL test is not affected by triglycerides so it may give a more accurate result.

How is the test done?

The test is done by collecting a sample of blood from a vein in the arm; a needle is inserted into the vein and the blood is drawn out into a syringe. Once the sample has been collected, it will be bottled, marked with the patient’s name and sent away to the laboratory for evaluation.

In some cases, it may be necessary for the patient to fast for a period of time before the test; the doctor will explain this when the patient arranges to have the test.

What do the results show?

High levels of LDL indicate a high risk of the patient developing heart disease, while low levels indicate a lower risk. The test may be repeated to assess the patient’s condition if they have started a course of treatment or they have made changes to their lifestyle (such as a change of diet and starting to exercise regularly), which aim to decrease their levels of LDL.

Specific Blood Tests

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