A Lipid profile gives a total cholesterol level, as well as quantities of LDL and HDL cholesterol (The good and the bad!). It will also give a triglyceride level and calculate the ratio between HDL and Total which is a good marker of cardiac risk.
Cholesterol is a form of fat (lipid) bound to protein known as a lipoprotein, and is an essential component of all cell membranes (boundaries) - but an excess of it during a health screening is linked to an increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease. The total figure is useful, but it is more helpful to know the levels of the two parts which make up the bulk of the cholesterol molecule - HDL and LDL.
Triglycerides are a category of fat found in the blood. Triglycerides effectively store energy for later use by the body. High triglyceride levels within a health screening are associated with pancreatitis, and possibly heart disease and strokes. Some medication can cause the level to rise, as can poorly controlled diabetes.
HDL (high density lipoprotein) is the component of cholesterol that is associated with good health, and high levels within a health screen are linked to reduced risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
LDL (low density lipoprotein) is the component of cholesterol that is associated with higher risk of heart and blood vessel disease. The ideal level within a health screening is below 2.5 mmol/L