VLDL Test

Lipoproteins are macromolecules made of lipid and proteins which functions to transfers the non-polar or water insoluble lipids like cholesterol, triglycerides and other lipids that are found in the blood stream. This lipoprotein may be of four types based on their molecular size and their functions; High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL), Very Low Density Lipoprotein (VLDL) and chylomicrons.

 VLDL which contains very high concentration of triglyceride when compared to the protein content is often referred to as bad cholesterol as it releases the triglycerides in different parts of the body which ultimately leads to the deposit of cholesterol in the artery walls. The VLDL or Bad Cholesterol can also lead to heart disease in the long run due to the narrowing of the blood vessels by cholesterol deposition. On the other hand, HDL protein which has major proportion of protein in it is called the good cholesterol as it helps in the reduction of cholesterol deposits in the arterial walls

What is VLDL Test?

The VLDL test or the lipid profiling test (where the concentration of all types of lipoprotein is measured) can be used to determine the concentration of Lipoprotein or VLDL in the blood stream of the person.

Who Should Get the Test Done?

 Very Low Density Lipoprotein is associated with the plague formation in the inner arterial walls (atherogenesis) which can lead to problems related to the cardio vascular system. As Very Low Density Lipoprotein can lead to heart diseases it is advisable to check its level in the blood in case of person having coronary heart disease or those under the risk of it. Usually diabetic or obese person should also have this test done periodically.

How to Collect the Sample for Test?

The person who is scheduled for a VLDL test should observe a complete fast for 8 to 9 hours before the test but drinking plain water is allowed. Consuming alcohol up to 24 hours prior to the test is also not permissible as these may also interfere with the test and the results obtained.  
The blood sample for the test is usually collected from the patient by puncturing into any vein in the arm. In some cases the sample for the test can be collected by pricking the fingertip of the patient.

How is the Test Performed?

There is no direct method of measuring the concentration of VLDL in the person’s blood sample. The level of the lipoprotein can be measured based on the amount of triglycerides in the blood as the amount of triglyceride is usually proportional to the VLDL level and normally, the VLDL is about 20 percentages of the triglycerides concentration. The values hence calculated are accurate only if the person is fasting before the test and also stays away from alcohol or else the calculation might get void.

Risks and Uneasiness Associated with the Test

The test does not pose much risk to the patient except for those associated with the pricking of the vein and blood sample collection.

Normal and Abnormal Values of VLDL in a Person

The normal value of VLDL in a healthy adult is between 5 to 40 mg/dl. Any value above the normal value means the amount of VLDL circulating in the blood is high and there is an increased risk of heart disease. The high concentration of VLDL may be associated with diabetes, alcohol consumption, and obesity. Low levels of VLDL in blood are not usually a risk in people.

The high concentration of lipoprotein is always of a concern as this might lead to a number of health issues. So medical assistance is needed and the person should try lowering the VLDL level by having oral pills which helps to reduce the cholesterol level and by introducing changes in the life style and food habits.

Some Other Ways to Measure the Concentration of VLDL

There are direct methods also besides the usual indirect method which helps to measure the VLDL level; these include the Lipoprotein electrophoresis and ultracentrifugation technique. But these methods which helps to directly measure the VLDL level is comparatively very expensive and needs costly and specialized equipment and hence are not used for routine diagnostic areas and are only used in research purpose.