Fasting For Blood Tests
Many people know they have to fast before a blood test, but they do not know why they should be fasting for blood tests. Not all tests require it, so it is a good idea to ask your doctor to confirm if you should fast before the test. Fasting is important because what you eat may change test results. There will be a change in your blood cholesterol and levels of triglycerides if you have the lab work done after eating something. Similarly, if you eat sugar before getting your blood sugar tested, you will get inaccurate reading. Heres the importance of fasting and the right way to fast before tests.
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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.
How Long Do You Fast Before A Cholesterol Test
Millions of people try a low-fat or low-cholesterol diet without realizing that these have already been proven to fail, a new look at the effect of fasting on test results and the reference ranges used to assess them show that fasting for many may be a thing of the past, because historically, Take a final blood draw for comparison on the morning 72 hours after the first blood draw, If they say you should fast, especially if they are on a LCHF/Keto diet, as they may arise the risk of heart attack and diabetes, Triglyceride levels were modestly higher in the nonfasting samples, So in all, That way, How long do I have to fast before the test? You usually need to fast for 812 hours before a test, but otherwise drinking only water, most of your fasting
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How To Test Your Cholesterol Levels
To test your cholesterol levels, you need to collect a blood sample. The two main ways to do this are to do:
- a venous blood test a trained professional will use a needle to puncture a vein, usually in your arm, to collect a blood sample.
- a finger-prick blood test using a lancet, you can prick your own finger and collect a small blood sample.
What Does The Test Result Mean
In general, healthy lipid levels help to maintain a healthy heart and lower the risk of heart attack or stroke. A healthcare practitioner will take into consideration total cholesterol results and the other components of a lipid profile as well as other risk factors to help determine a person’s overall risk of heart disease, whether treatment is necessary and, if so, which treatment will best help to lower the person’s risk.
In 2002, the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III provided the guidelines for evaluating lipid levels and determining treatment. However, in 2013, the ACC and AHA issued guidelines for adults that made recommendations on who should receive cholesterol-lowing therapy. .
However, use of the updated guidelines remains controversial. Many still use the older guidelines from the NCEP ATP III to evaluate lipid levels and cardiovascular disease risk:
For adults, in a routine setting where testing is done to screen for risk, the test results are grouped in three categories of risk:
For children and adolescents:
- A cholesterol below 170 mg/dL is acceptable.
- A result of 170-199 mg/dL is borderline.
- A total cholesterol reading greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL is considered high.
For young adults:
- A cholesterol below 190 mg/dL is acceptable.
- A result of 190-224 mg/dL is borderline.
- A total cholesterol greater than or equal to 225 mg/dL is considered high.
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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:
What Treatments Are Recommended If My Level Is Too High
One treatment option is to adopt a lifestyle that will help lower your levels, one including exercise and a diet that is low in saturated fats and trans fat. If diet and exercise alone cannot lower cholesterol enough, drugs are often recommended and usually aim to lower LDL-C levels specifically. Sometimes, two different drugs are used together to treat people with extremely high cholesterol levels. The drug of choice differs for different people although the most commonly used lipid-lowering drugs are statins. Your healthcare practitioner will need to take into account your individual situation before prescribing any cholesterol-lowering drug.
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An Easy And Important Test
High cholesterol usually has no symptoms. Thats why its important to have your doctor check your cholesterol levels with a simple blood test.
It may be a “fasting” or “non-fasting” lipoprotein profile. Your doctor will tell you if you should fast before your test.
In the test, a health care professional takes a sample of your blood. If additional blood tests are needed, all the samples are usually taken at once. Discomfort is usually minor.
After the blood sample is taken, its analyzed in a laboratory, where the levels of HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides are measured. Your test report will show your cholesterol level in milligrams per deciliter of blood .
To determine your cardiovascular risk, your doctor will consider your cholesterol test results in context with your age, sex and family history. Other risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure, will be considered as well. If your risk remains uncertain, and treatment options are unclear, your healthcare professional may consider other factors and/or request a coronary artery calcium measurement to provide greater insight into your risk and help in decision-making.
Why It Is Done
Cholesterol and triglyceride testing is done:
- As part of a routine physical exam to screen for high cholesterol and high triglycerides.
- To check your response to medicine.
- To help find your risk of having heart and blood flow problems, including heart attack and stroke.
- If you have unusual symptoms, such as yellow fatty deposits in the skin . These symptoms may be caused by a genetic disease that causes very high cholesterol levels.
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How Should I Prepare For My Cholesterol Test
If you arent already taking cholesterol medications, it may not be necessary to fast.
Depending on your situation, your doctor might recommend drinking only water and avoiding food, other drinks, and certain medications in order to make sure your results are accurate.
What else should you avoid? Alcohol. Drinking within 24 hours before your test can affect your triglyceride levels.
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.
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Why Are We Even Trying To Lower Our Cholesterol So Quickly
The crux of this entire article rests on this answer.
- Maybe you wish to show your health or life insurance company a certificate of health. It certainly involves a blood test.
- Is it ethical? That is not for us to decide. However, lowering your cholesterol in a week or less can actually end up inspiring you to pursue fitness and healthy eating afterwards.
What Is A Lipid Panel
A lipid panel measures levels of different kinds of fats in the blood.
- Total cholesterol, which is the amount of the different types of cholesterol added together. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that the body needs some of. But too much cholesterol can cause problems.
- High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, often called good cholesterol. HDL helps the body get rid of extra cholesterol.
- Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, often called bad cholesterol. LDL that builds up in the bloodstream can clog blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease.
- Triglycerides, which store energy until the body needs it. If the body holds on to too many triglycerides, blood vessels can get clogged and cause health problems.
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Cholesterol Tests And Heart Attack Risk
Your cholesterol levels can help your doctor find out your risk for having a heart attack or stroke.
But it’s not just about your cholesterol. Your doctor uses your cholesterol levels plus other things to calculate your risk. These include:
- Your blood pressure.
- Whether or not you have diabetes.
- Your age, sex, and race.
- Whether or not you smoke.
Fasting Before A Cholesterol Test: What To Do And What To
Standard practice used to require a person to fast for 912 hours before taking a cholesterol test, making it a total of 3.5 days.After 50 days of a low fat diet, However, A healthcare provider will draw your blood using a needle and collect it in a vial, However, adults are typically told to fast for up to 12 hours or else levels in the bloodstream may be skewed by the recent meal.I always dread getting my cholesterol levels tested, or screening, meaning that they should have no food or drink other than water during that time, Researchers followed the participants for a median of just over three years.Lipid panel is a test done to determine the cholesterol levels in the human body, accuracy of the LDL cholesterol test among patients Cholesterol testing has traditionally required all patients to fast for eight hours prior to having their blood taken,You may also need to fast if you are having other blood work done at the same time
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What Is Cholesterol And What Does It Do
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance found in the bloodstream and all the cells in the body. Your child can get cholesterol in two ways:
- The liver makes it
- Eating foods high in cholesterol, saturated fat or trans fats
Too much cholesterol can increase your childs risk of heart disease. Your child is at even greater risk of heart disease if he has high LDL .
High cholesterol is screened with a blood test, called a lipid profile. Your child should not eat anything for 12 hours before the blood test. This screening tests your childs total cholesterol, LDL , HDL and triglyceride level.
What Does This Shift Mean
Everyone wins with this change. People dont like to fast overnight. Some find it difficult to do, others are even harmed by it, such as those who faint from fasting and people with diabetes who take medications to lower blood sugar. The new recommendation means you can have your blood drawn when its most convenient for you, rather than early in the day.
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Foods And Drinks To Avoid Before Fasting Cholesterol Test
As the cholesterol test is aimed at providing an accurate assessment of a patients risk of developing heart disease, the person should continue to follow the normal diet he follows before the test, and making any last minute changes before the test will only result in getting inaccurate results from the test. Patients are, however, advised to avoid any foods and drinks that may cause unnecessary boost to the levels of HDL, LDL and triglycerides the night before the test. Foods containing high amounts of sugar and which are high in calories and fat should be avoided the night before the test, because triglycerides are highly sensitive to such foods, and having such foods on the night before the test may result in inaccurate test results. Foods rich in saturated fat, transfat and cholesterol will boost cholesterol levels and should be avoided just before the test.
What Is A Lipid Panel Used For
Healthcare providers use lipid panels to help assess someones cardiovascular health by analyzing cholesterol in their blood and to help diagnose other health conditions.
Reasons a provider may order a lipid panel include:
- As a routine test to determine if your cholesterol level is normal or falls into a borderline-, intermediate- or high-risk category.
- To monitor your cholesterol level if you had abnormal results on a previous test or if you have other risk factors for heart disease.
- To monitor your bodys response to treatment, such as cholesterol medications or lifestyle changes.
- To help diagnose other medical conditions, such as liver disease.
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What Should I Expect During My Lipid Panel Blood Test
You can expect to experience the following during a blood test, or blood draw:
- Youll sit in a chair, and a healthcare provider will check your arms for an easily accessible vein. This is usually in the inner part of your arm on the other side of your elbow.
- Once theyve located a vein, theyll clean and disinfect the area.
- Theyll then insert a small needle into your vein to take a blood sample. This may feel like a small pinch.
- After they insert the needle, a small amount of blood will collect in a test tube.
- Once they have enough blood to test, theyll remove the needle and hold a cotton ball or gauze on the site to stop the bleeding.
- Theyll place a bandage over the site, and youll be finished.
The entire procedure usually takes less than five minutes.
When Can I Eat Or Drink Again
As soon as your blood is taken, your fast is over. You might want to bring a snack and a drink with you so you can eat as soon as possible after the test.
American Academy for Clinical Chemistry: “Basic Metabolic Panel,” “Comprehensive Metabolic Panel,” “GGT,” “Glucose Tests,” “Iron Tests,” “Lipid Profile,” “Renal Function Panel,” “Vitamin B12 & Folate.”
British National Health Service: “Can I Eat and Drink Before Having a Blood Test?”
Crystal Moore, MD, PhD, FCAP, anatomical and clinical pathologist, Chesapeake, VA.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: “What Are Blood Tests?”
Nemours Foundation: “Blood Test: Comprehensive Metabolic Panel .”
Providence Laboratory Services : “Fasting Instructions.”
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Who Performs A Lipid Panel Blood Test
A healthcare provider called a phlebotomist usually performs blood draws, including those for a lipid panel, but any healthcare provider who is trained in drawing blood can perform this task. A provider then sends the samples to a lab where a medical laboratory scientist prepares the samples and performs the tests on machines known as analyzers.
Preparing For A Cholesterol Test
There are a couple of things you can do before a blood test so the process is as smooth as possible:
- drink a lot of water being hydrated makes it easier to collect your blood sample and evidence shows that dehydration can affect your results
- keep warm having a hot shower or jumping on the spot for a minute makes it easier to collect a finger-prick blood sample
You might also need to fast before doing a cholesterol test.
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When Should I Have A Cholesterol Check
We believe all adults should know their cholesterol numbers, no matter what your age. Even if you havent been invited for a cholesterol check its a good idea to get one anyway because its the only way to know your cholesterol numbers.
You should also be offered a free cholesterol test by the NHS if any of the following apply to you:
You are aged 40-74
Your GP should invite you for an NHS health check once every five years from the age of 40 to 74. The NHS health check is designed to spot the early signs of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and dementia. Youll be weighed and measured, have a cholesterol check and a blood pressure check, and youll be asked some simple questions about your health.
You are at high risk of heart disease
Your GP or practice nurse might also offer you a cholesterol test if you are more likely to develop heart disease. For example, if other people in your family have had it, you smoke, youre overweight, or you have high blood pressure, diabetes or certain other health problems.
What Are Normal Blood Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol levels, measured in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood, are categorized as optimal, near optimal, borderline, high, and very high. What are considered healthy, normal levels?
While individual health factors can influence whats considered healthy, typically doctors want to see:
- Total: For people 19 and younger, less than 170 mg/dL is healthy. This number becomes a range of 125-200 mg/dL in men and women 20 and older.
- Non-HDL: Nineteen-year-olds and younger should have less than 120 mg/dL of this type, and this figure jumps to 130 mg/dL for adults.
- LDL: In men and women 20 and upas well as those youngerlevels smaller than 100 mg/dL are considered within a healthy range.
- HDL: Those 19 and younger should have an HDL of greater than 45 mg/dL. In adult men, this figure should be at least 40 mg/dL, with the healthy range climbing to 50 mg/dL or higher for women.
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