Can I Take The Test At Home
Two main types of at-home cholesterol tests are available:
- Test kits that have you take a blood sample from your finger and send it by mail to a lab.
- Test kits that include an at-home method for analyzing the blood sample from your finger. This may be a small electronic device or a test strip that changes color to indicate cholesterol levels.
At-home tests for total cholesterol may include other cholesterol measurements, such as HDL and LDL, that are part of a typical lipid panel.
How And When To Have Your Cholesterol Checked
Getting your cholesterol levels checked is an important part of staying healthy. High cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States.
Knowing your cholesterol status can help you stay in control of your health. Learn about cholesterol screening and why it is important.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs to make hormones and digest fats. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, but you can also get cholesterol from eating certain foods, such as egg yolks and fatty meats. Having high blood cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke. High blood cholesterol doesnt have symptoms, which is why getting your cholesterol levels checked is so important.
Learn more about cholesterol screenings.
You should get your cholesterol checked at least every 5 years. If you have cardiovascular risk factors, talk with your health care team about getting tested more often.
Whats Behind The New Recommendation
This change has been coming for some time. It is driven by data from a dozen-plus studies that include more than 300,000 people whose cholesterol and other lipids were measured when they hadnt fasted. Their levels predicted cardiovascular risk, as well as, or possibly better than, fasting lipid levels.
You May Like: How To Reduce Ldl Cholesterol In 30 Days
Staci Gulbin Ms Med Rd Ldn
Blood tests are commonly used to investigate the cause of symptoms, detect or monitor disease state, or predict disease risk. Advance preparation is not needed prior to most blood tests, as recent food intake does not significantly influence the majority of the components tested. However, some blood tests require that you avoid all foods and liquids — except for water — for up to 12 hours before the test.
List Of Foods To Avoid Before A Cholesterol Test
In cardiovascular risk assessment, the lipid profile also known as Cholesterol Test is a vital investigation and it has become one of the routine tests in medical checkups. The lipid profile checks the level of total cholesterol, high density lipoproteins, low density lipoproteins and triglycerides.
High density cholesterol is known as Good Cholesterol and high levels of reference are recommended as healthy. Low density cholesterol is considered as Bad;Cholesterol and patients are advised to keep it at a lower level. There are certain foods to be avoided before a cholesterol test, which are found to be causing an alteration in the cholesterol test. The test can be performed as a fasting test or a non-fasting test. Evidence suggests that the fasting lipid test will overcome the effect of elevated post-prandial triglyceride level. Patients should be provided with adequate information on foods to avoid before a cholesterol test.
In a fasting lipid profile, all patients should fast for 12 hours prior to the test.
- They must avoid eating any type of solid or semisolid food during these 12 hours. But it is important to state that the patient should continue drinking water and any medication he is on. After a meal, the calories of the foods are converted to triglycerides and they remain high in the blood for a significant number of hours. The need for fasting before the test is based on this concept.
Recommended Reading: Is The Ldl The Bad Cholesterol
Does A Person Need To Do Anything Else To Prepare For A Cholesterol Test
Before a person has their cholesterol test, they should inform a healthcare professional about their family history of heart health and any symptoms or medical conditions they are currently experiencing.
The person should also let the healthcare professional know about any medications, vitamins, herbal remedies, or supplements that they are taking.
If the person is taking any medications that may affect their cholesterol levels, the healthcare professional may ask them to stop taking them for a period of time before their test.
The person should only stop taking their medication if the healthcare professional asks them to and while under medical supervision.
A cholesterol blood test will measure the amount of each of the following in a persons blood:
- Total cholesterol: This is the sum of the cholesterol content in the blood.
- Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol: This is the type of cholesterol that contributes to the buildup of fats within the arteries, leading to a
- help protect a person from experiencing a stroke or heart attack. It carries the LDL back to the liver, which can break it down and help remove it from the body.
- Triglycerides: These store excess energy from a persons diet and can contribute to the buildup in a persons arteries.
According to the , the ideal levels of each type are as follows:
How Can I Lower My Cholesterol Before A Blood Test
Cholesterol is not your body’s enemy but rather an asset, aiding in cell formation and hormone production. Your liver produces the exact amount your body requires; any excess amounts come from the foods you eat and lack of physical activity, as FamilyDoctor.org explains. The site continues, adding that these excess amounts pose a health risk, increasing your chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke. Blood tests are the only way to detect high cholesterol levels. If you feel you suffer from high cholesterol, and want to lower it before testing, you can begin with small lifestyle changes that might make a difference.
Reduce your cholesterol intake 1. Consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day. Read food labels for cholesterol content, paying close attention to the serving size. A particular item might only contain 25 milligrams of cholesterol, but the serving size might be a half cup.
Swap saturated fats for healthy fats. Saturated fats increase your cholesterol levels, while unsaturated fats lower them. The main source of saturated fat is animal products such as whole-fat dairy, eggs, organ meat and red meat. Unsaturated fats are in oils such as canola, olive, sunflower and peanut. Avocados are another source, along with a variety of nuts. Only 7 percent of your daily calories should come from saturated fats.
Don’t Miss: How To Remove Ldl Cholesterol Naturally
Ok To Eat Before Rolling Up Sleeve For Cholesterol Test
Before filling one of these tubes with blood for a cholesterol test, you’re supposed to keep your stomach empty. But that may not be necessary.hide caption
Before filling one of these tubes with blood for a cholesterol test, you’re supposed to keep your stomach empty. But that may not be necessary.
Skipping breakfast to take a medical test is nobody’s idea of fun. And it’s one reason why many people never get around to having a cholesterol test.
So it’s good news that some doctors are now saying that for most people, a nonfasting cholesterol test will do just fine.
But who gets to take a pass on the unpleasant skip-your-breakfast routine? To find out, Shots called Samia Mora. She’s a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.
The bottom line: If you don’t already have high triglycerides and you’re not diabetic, forget the fast. Enjoy your breakfast.
This seems so utterly different from what we’ve been told for so many years, we had to know more. Why diabetics? “Their triglycerides tend to be high,” Mora says. And triglycerides are the blood lipids that shoot up after eating a fatty meal.
Still, Mora says, you’d have to eat a really fatty meal to move the triglyceride level much. “Steak and french fries within a couple of hours of your test” could do that, she says.
The levels of low-density lipoprotein , varied about 10 percent, and triglycerides varied about 20 percent.
The Effects Of Eating Before Cholesterol Test
A complete cholesterol test is a collection of blood tests that determine the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. HDL cholesterol is defined as “good” while LDL is considered “bad.” Separate blood tests are required to gauge each type of cholesterol. People with high cholesterol have a greater chance of developing heart disease. The accuracy of your cholesterol test is very important. If you eat food too close to the time of your test, it can cause incorrect results.
Recommended Reading: How Much Mg Of Cholesterol A Day
Can You Check Cholesterol Without A Blood Test
During a cholesterol test procedure, a blood sample will have to be taken from a vein in your arm.
To do so, a tourniquet is tied around your arm just above the elbow. A needle is then inserted into a vein in your arm near the inside of your elbow. Once the needle is positioned, a small amount of blood is withdrawn and collected in a vial or a syringe.
After the blood is collected, the needle is removed from the vein, and the tourniquet is removed from your arm. A small cotton ball is pressed over the puncture site to stop any bleeding. A Band-Aid may be placed to protect clothing should a small amount of blood leak out of the puncture site.
How long does a cholesterol take?
Having blood tests drawn takes only a few minutes.
Does a cholesterol test hurt?
Blood tests cause a minimal amount of discomfort. Some people do have anxiety about having blood drawn and it may be worse than the pain of the procedure.
Why Some Blood Tests Require Fasting
Some blood tests require you to fast because the results can be easily influenced by the foods that you eat. The micronutrient, carbohydrate, protein, and fat levels in your food can all skew the results of some tests.
An example of a test that requires fasting is a blood glucose test, which measures your blood sugar levels. Eating foods high in carbohydrates can significantly raise your blood sugar levels within 15 minutes.
Also Check: How To Calculate Ldl Cholesterol Level
Medications Exercise And Other Factors Can Make A Big Difference In Your Numbers
Cholesterol test results can vary by as much as 10 percent, depending on what you recently ate or drank, the drugs you take, and other health problems you may have. For example, some research suggests that periods of high stress can raise your cholesterol levels.
Here’s what to doand what to avoidto get the most accurate cholesterol test results.
Foods To Lower Cholesterol
The foods a person consumes can affect their cholesterol levels over time.
Some foods can help reduce cholesterol. For example, soluble fiber can bind with cholesterol in the digestive system and from the body. Additionally, polyunsaturated fats can help lower LDL levels.
According to Harvard Health, a person should aim to include the following in their diet:
Recommended Reading: How To Raise Hdl Cholesterol Levels
High Density Lipoprotein Good Cholesterol
High levels linked to a reduced risk of heart and blood vessel disease. The higher your HDL level, the better.
- Greater than 40 mg/dL
This test may be measured any time of the day without fasting. However, if the test is drawn as part of a total lipid profile, it requires a 12-hour fast . For the most accurate results, wait at least two months after a heart attack, surgery, infection, injury or pregnancy to check HDL levels.
HDL is a lipoprotein found in the blood. It is called “good” cholesterol because it removes excess cholesterol from the blood and takes it to the liver. A high HDL level is related to lower risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
Nonfasting Levels Might Be Better
After you eat, your digestive system converts some of the carbohydrates and fats into triglycerides. Their level in the bloodstream rises, then gradually falls. If the triglyceride level rises too much, its a signal that the body has trouble metabolizing food. Think of eating as a stress test for metabolism. Thats something you cant see if youve been fasting.
Don’t Miss: Is 228 Cholesterol Too High
What Should You Eat After A Blood Test
These foods include asparagus, leafy greens like kale, liver and orange juice. Riboflavin, or vitamin B-2, is also used in the production of red blood cells. To restock this nutrient, eat dairy products like milk or yogurt. Another red blood cell builder, Vitamin B-6 can be found in foods like potatoes and bananas.
The History Behind Fasting Cholesterol Tests
When doctors test for cholesterol, we almost always order a group of tests called a lipid panel . This panel typically includes four separate measures:
- Total cholesterol concentration.
- Low-density lipoprotein* cholesterol, often called the bad cholesterol. The amount of LDL in your blood strongly predicts your risk of cardiovascular disease, as higher levels are associated with development of plaque in the arteries.
- High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, often called good cholesterol because higher levels protect against heart disease.
- Triglycerides . High levels of triglycerides are also associated with vascular disease, although this relationship isnt as well defined.
*Lipoproteins are the packages that transport cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Lipids have traditionally been drawn after a fast for two main reasons. The first was to minimize variation, since eating can affect some lipid levels. The second was to produce a better calculation of LDL-cholesterol, which is often derived from an equation thought to provide highly distorted results after eating. However, more recent studies have largely negated these concerns.
Also Check: Is Yogurt Good For Cholesterol
What Do These Numbers Even Mean
After the test, youll take a look at your total lipid profile. Your doctor will explain whether your results appear normal, at-risk, or high.
These are the adult recommendations, according to the American Heart Associations 2018 guidelines. All values are in mg/dL :
Total cholesterol: All the cholesterol found in your blood
- Good: below 200
Triglycerides: A major type of fat in the body
- Good: below 149
- Borderline: 150 to 199
- High: 200+
- Very high: 500
Folks with conditions like diabetes might need to shoot for lower numbers, so chat with your doctor to know whats right for you. Cholesterol guidelines also vary by age: Kids should have lower levels than adults.
If your numbers are in the at-risk zone, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes to lower them.
Can You Brush Your Teeth Before A Fasting Blood Test
8 pm and to arrive at the laboratory early the next morning. May I brush my teeth? Yes, brushing your teeth is permitted unless otherwise indicated by your physician, assuming you do not use large amounts of toothpaste and swallow the lather. These should be avoided for 48 hours prior to lab testing.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Purpose Of Ldl Cholesterol
New Guidelines Simplify Cholesterol Tests: No Fasting Needed
Im supposed to have my cholesterol checked soon. Its a simple test, but Im not looking forward to it since it requires fasting overnight. And that means making a special early-morning trip to my doctors office.
But new international guidelines;say its OK even preferred to skip the overnight fast.
To learn more about this small but oh-so-useful shift, I talked with cardiologist Dr. Samia Mora. She helped write the new guidelines, which were published this week in the European Heart Journal and summarized in JAMA Internal Medicine. Mora is director of the Center for Lipid Metabolomics at Brigham and Womens Hospital and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
What To Do If You Broke Your Fast
If you break your fast, the results of your test may be inaccurate. You can call your doctor to see if the test can still be done.
Some tests may be still be analyzed knowing that youre not in a fasted state. Its important to be honest with the test administrator so they can interpret your results properly. Some types of tests may need to be rescheduled.
There are many conditions a doctor might want to test for using a fasting blood test. Just three of many examples include diabetes, high cholesterol, or low iron.
The following early symptoms may indicate you have one of these conditions:
Don’t Miss: Does Sugar Cause High Cholesterol
What Should I Eat Before Getting Blood Drawn
Drink plenty of water before your appointment. When you’re hydrated, your blood volume goes up, and your veins are plumper and easier to access. Eat a healthy meal before you go. Choosing one with plenty of protein and whole-grain carbohydrates may prevent you from feeling light-headed after giving blood.
Low Density Lipoprotein Bad Cholesterol
High levels are linked to an increased risk of heart and blood vessel disease, including coronary artery disease, heart attack and death. Reducing LDL levels is a major treatment target for cholesterol-lowering medications.
- Less than 70 mg/dL for those with heart or blood vessel disease and for other patients at very high risk of heart disease
- Less than 100 mg/dL for high risk patients
- Less than 130 mg/dL for individuals who are at low risk for coronary artery disease
Blood should be collected after a 12-hour fast . For the most accurate results, wait at least two months after a heart attack, surgery, infection, injury or pregnancy to check LDL levels.
LDL is a lipoprotein found in the blood. It is called “bad” cholesterol because it picks up cholesterol from the blood and takes it to the cells. A high LDL level is related to a higher risk of heart and blood vessel disease.
Don’t Miss: How To Bring Down Cholesterol Naturally