Routine check-ups that measure your cholesterol levels play an important role in preventive health care. Your doctor will monitor your cholesterol levels by ordering a lipid panel, which is a blood test that determines how much of certain types of fat and fat-like substances may be present in your bloodstream.

    How Often Should Your Doctor Request a Lipid Panel?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults over the age of 21 have their cholesterol tested every 4 to 6 years. If certain risk factors are present, your doctor may request a lipid panel more frequently.

    These risk factors can include:

    • History of family members who have heart disease or who had high cholesterol.
    • Type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
    • Excess weight or obesity.
    • Unhealthy eating habits.
    • Personal history of high cholesterol.

    Men have an increased risk of developing high cholesterol when compared to women of the same age, but risk increases for women who are post-menopausal. Age also plays a role in how well the body process cholesterol, so a doctor may request more frequent lipid panels from anyone over the age of 65.

    Healthy eating habits, regular exercise and certain lifestyle choices, like avoiding smoking and taking any prescribed medications for cholesterol-related issues, can help lower cholesterol and the risk of disease.

    Understanding How Your Doctor Reads a Lipid Panel

    Most lipid panels will report four specific measurements of fat or fat-like substances in the bloodstream. Measurements are given in milligrams per deciliter of blood.

    • Total amount of cholesterol. More than 200 mg/dL may cause concern.
    • Amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Sometimes called “bad” cholesterol due to its connection with clogged arteries. More than 100 mg/dL exceeds the normal range.
    • Amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Sometimes called “good” cholesterol due to its connection with the prevention of heart disease. Physicians prefer to see more than 40 mg/dL.
    • Amount of triglycerides. A type of fat found in the blood. Anything less than 150 mg/dL is considered a normal level.

    Your lipid panel may also include measurements for the ratio between total cholesterol and HDL, which can indicate whether you may be at risk of developing plaque build-up (atherosclerosis) in the arteries. Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), like LDL, may also be measured since it is also may impose a risk of build-up that leads to heart disease.

    Medicare Coverage for a Lipid Panel                  

    Diagnostic services like blood tests are covered by Medicare Part B. Cardiovascular screening through a lipid panel qualifies for Medicare coverage every 5 years. If your doctor determines you have a higher than average risk of developing heart disease or having high cholesterol, it may be possible to request additional coverage through your Part B Medicare insurance.

    Medicare Advantage plans may also offer additional screening coverage, but these extra benefits are determined by each Medicare Advantage insurer and recipients will need to verify coverage terms with their insurer of choice. Medicare recipients who are also eligible for Medicaid benefits may qualify for additional screening covered by Medicaid if they have an increased risk, but dual-eligibility rules may be different in every state.

    Your doctor can help you determine how frequently they need to review a lipid panel depending on your risk factors and current cholesterol levels.

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    Does Medicare pay for lipid panel blood test?
    Medicare covers cholesterol testing as part of the covered cardiovascular screening blood tests. Medicare also includes tests for lipid and triglyceride levels. These tests are covered once every 5 years. more
    Where is blood drawn for a blood test?
    During venipuncture, a lab professional, known as a phlebotomist, will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. more
    Can a blood test detect a blood clot?
    A D-dimer test is used to find out if you have a blood clotting disorder. These disorders include: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that's deep inside a vein. These clots usually affect the lower legs, but they can also happen in other parts of the body. more
    What blood test shows blood clots?
    A D-dimer test is used to find out if you have a blood clotting disorder. These disorders include: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that's deep inside a vein. more
    Why is my blood so dark blood test?
    Deoxygenated blood is found in veins, which take blood from the body back to the lungs. Blood drawn from a vein will appear dark red or even black. So your mom probably had a doctor take blood from a vein. So the color is completely expected and normal given how our body's circulatory system works. more
    How much blood is removed in a blood test?
    Yellow bottle - 2.5 ml - this is used for a lot of different chemical tests, so it is usually completely filled. Other less common tests come in bottles up to 6 ml in volume and blood culture bottles are the largest size at 10 ml. more
    What do they test for in a blood test?
    Blood tests can be used for many different things, including to check cholesterol and blood glucose levels. These help monitor your risk of heart and circulatory diseases and diabetes, or how your condition is being managed. Tests for different chemicals and proteins can indicate how your liver or kidneys are working. more
    Can a regular blood test detect blood clots?
    Blood tests can show if there is abnormal blood clotting activity in the body. They can also show if the heart has been damaged by a clot. more
    What blood test shows enlarged red blood cells?
    Your doctor will order blood tests to check for anemia and enlarged red blood cells. If your complete blood count indicates anemia, your doctor will do another test known as a peripheral blood smear. This test can help spot early macrocytic or microcytic changes to your red blood cells. more
    Can blood test detect blood clot in lung?
    Your doctor will order a D-dimer blood test to help diagnose or rule out the presence of a pulmonary embolism. The D-dimer test measures the levels of a substance that is produced in your bloodstream when a blood clot breaks down. more
    How much blood is needed for a blood test?
    Yellow bottle - 2.5 ml - this is used for a lot of different chemical tests, so it is usually completely filled. Other less common tests come in bottles up to 6 ml in volume and blood culture bottles are the largest size at 10 ml. more

    Source: www.medicare.org

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