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Do You Have To Fast For A Cholesterol Test

Do I Need To Fast For A Lipid Panel

Always Fast 12 Hours Before Your Cholesterol Test

In most cases, you need to fast for 10 to12 hours before your lipid panel blood test. Fasting means not eating or drinking anything except water. In some cases, getting a lipid panel test without fasting is possible.

In any case, its important to ask your healthcare provider in advance about whether you need to fast before the test. Always follow the instructions that your provider gives you. If your provider has instructed you to fast and you accidentally break the fast , please let your provider know because the test is not as useful without fasting.

How Should You Prepare For A Cholesterol Test

How to prepare. As a general rule, you should fast for 9 to 12 hours before the test, without food or liquids other than water. Some cholesterol tests do not require you to fast, so follow your doctor’s instructions.

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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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No Need To Fast Before Cholesterol Check

By Andrew M. Seaman, Reuters Health

3 Min Read

– Most people dont need to fast overnight before getting their blood drawn for a cholesterol test, according to a group of experts.

Cholesterol test results obtained one to six hours after a meal were not significantly different from results obtained after a fast, researchers found.

It could be implemented tomorrow with no problems at all, said lead author Dr. Borge Nordestgaard, of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Today, the key players for keeping the fasting procedure are the laboratories drawing the blood. They simply could change the procedure tomorrow, and then nobody would fast anymore. That is what we did in Denmark and patients, clinicians and laboratories were all happy with the change.

Nordestgaard told Reuters Health in an email that doctors essentially just always had patients fast before a cholesterol test. So people got used to it without questioning the fasting procedure, he said.

Typically, blood is drawn for a cholesterol test – known as a lipid panel – after a person has fasted for at least eight hours, the researchers write in the European Heart Journal.

In 2009, Denmark began using non-fasting cholesterol tests. One advantage, the researchers say, is that forgoing fasting simplifies the process for patients, doctors and laboratories. Also, patients are more likely to get the test.

SOURCE: bit.ly/1NGHk4r European Heart Journal, online April 27, 2016.

When To Get Tested

Do I need to fast before a cholesterol test?

Screening when no risk factors present: for adults, every four to six years for children, teens and young adults, once between the ages of 9 and 11 and again between ages 17 and 21

Monitoring: at regular intervals when you have risk factors, when prior results showed high risk levels, and/or to monitor effectiveness of treatment

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Do You Have To Fast The Night Before A Cholesterol Test

If the doctor has recommended that the person fast, they should not drink anything but water the day before the cholesterol test. Fasting means that a person can drink water just a few hours before the test. When a person does not need to fast, he should be able to eat and drink normally.

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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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Why Do I Have To Fast

Nutrients in food and drinks go into your bloodstream and can change things measured by the tests, skewing your results.

For instance, if you eat or drink before a fasting blood glucose test, your blood sugar probably will be higher than if you hadn’t had anything. When you’re fasting, doctors get a baseline result so tests can be compared to give a true picture of your sugar levels over time.

What Do My Cholesterol Test Results Mean

Cholesterol Testing, To Fast or Not To Fast?

Your doctor will tell you the results of the blood tests. The results are not interpreted on their own and are not used to diagnose a disease. Instead, they provide information on your overall health and your risk of heart attack and stroke. Sometimes high cholesterol levels can be an early warning to make lifestyle changes to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Your doctor will use other cardiovascular disease risk factors such as your age, sex, blood pressure and whether you smoke or have diabetes when deciding whether treatment is needed.

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Should I Be Concerned If I Have Abnormal Lipid Panel Results

If your lipid results reveal that you have high levels of total cholesterol, LDL and/or triglycerides and/or low levels of HDL, it doesnt necessarily mean that you have a medical condition or need treatment.

A healthy cholesterol range for you may depend on many factors. Your healthcare provider will take into consideration the following factors when interpreting your lipid panel results:

  • Your age.
  • Your current medications.
  • Other risk factors you may have for cardiovascular disease.

Many providers use a special risk calculator using these factors to determine if you need further tests or treatment. If you have questions about your results, dont be afraid to talk to your provider.

An End To The Dreaded Overnight Fast

Guidelines for lipid panels have evolved over the past decade, supported by evidence from studies involving hundreds of thousands of people. Most recommendations now support non-fasting cholesterol tests for routine testing.

Some fasting lipids tests will remain necessary, especially in people with very high triglycerides. And some people will still need to fast for blood sugar levels, although an alternative test for diabetes has replaced much of this testing. But for most, including those having routine cholesterol tests to weigh cardiovascular risk and for those taking drug therapy, this news is good news.

So ask your doctor if you really need to skip breakfast before your next blood draw. Traditions die hard, but both science and convenience may ultimately steer this one to its end. This is one change doctors and patients should celebrate together.

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Do You Need To Fast Before A Cholesterol Test

July 17, 2014 Do you really need to check your cholesterol levels on an empty stomach? New research suggests checking your cholesterol even if youâve eaten gives you similar information.

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey III , Bethany Doran, MD, of the NYU School of Medicine, and her colleagues found that higher LDL levels were linked to a higher risk of death. And it didnât matter if the test was taken after fasting overnight or after eating.

Based on the clinical guidelines, weve been advising patients to fast before a lipid panel, senior investigator Sripal Bangalore, MD, of the NYU School of Medicine, told heartwire. But we might see the patient today, tell the patient to fast and come back another day for the test, and then I have to wait for the results. Its a lot of inconvenience, for the patient and also for us. Were able to start therapy only when we know their results. And we lose patients who simply drop out because they dont have the time to come back again.

For the study, published in the journal Circulation, researchers looked at 8,598 people who measured their cholesterol levels in the NHANES III study and were followed for about 14 years.

Increasing LDL levels were linked to an increasing risk of death for any reason in those who were fasting or not before their cholesterol test. This same group also had a greater risk of death from heart and blood vessel disease.

Does A Person Need To Do Anything Else To Prepare For A Cholesterol Test

Do I need 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
  • to the buildup in a persons arteries.

According to the , the ideal levels of each type are as follows:

  • Total cholesterol: Levels under 200 mg/dl are optimal.
  • HDL cholesterol: Levels greater than or equal to 60 mg/dl are optimal.
  • LDL cholesterol: Levels under 100 mg/dl are optimal.
  • Triglycerides: Levels under 150 mg/dl are optimal.

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Can I Test My Own Cholesterol At Home

Its better to have your cholesterol tested by a professional because taking blood and measuring cholesterol levels is a skilled job and your results will be affected by the way you do the test. Going to a health professional means you will get an accurate reading.

We dont recommend home sampling, but if you do decide to test your cholesterol at home, follow these simple steps to take your sample safely and get a more accurate result.

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:

  • barley

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Fasting In Your Future Heres What To Do

If you have to fast, dont stress. Doctors usually schedule tests in the morning, since patients tend to prefer nighttime fasting.

Go ahead and hydrate with H2O beforehand, but avoid juice, soda, and other drinks. And skip the adult beverages for at least 24 hours, since alcohol can raise your triglyceride levels.

Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About Fasting Before A Blood Test

Health & Nutrition : How to Fast Before a Blood Cholesterol Test

Be sure to talk to your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about fasting.

You should talk to your provider before taking any lab test. Most tests dont require fasting or other special preparations. For others, you may need to avoid certain foods, medicines, or activities. Taking the right steps before testing helps ensure your results will be accurate.

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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.

What If I Accidentally Eat Or Drink Before My Blood Test

If you have been instructed to fast before your blood test and you accidentally eat or drink something during the fasting window, it is important to notify your healthcare provider or the person drawing your blood. If you dont, your results could be incorrectly interpreted.

It may be possible for your healthcare provider to interpret the non-fasted test results. Most likely, they will instruct you to reschedule the blood test at a time when you will be able to successfully complete the fast before the test.

Your physician will let you know the steps you need to take before your blood test, including whether or not fasting is required and for how long. By following all testing instructions and best practices , you can ensure a smooth testing process and the most accurate results.

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What Do Cholesterol Test Numbers Mean

If you have a lipoprotein profile, it’s important to look at all the numbers from the cholesterol test, not just the total cholesterol number. That’s because LDL and HDL levels are two primary indicators of potential heart disease. Use the information below to interpret your results . This will help you get a better idea about your risk for heart disease.

Total blood cholesterol level:

  • High risk: 240 mg/dL and above
  • Borderline high risk: 200-239 mg/dL
  • Desirable: Less than 200 mg/dL
  • Borderline high risk: 150-199 mg/dL
  • Normal: Less than 150 mg/dL

How Long Should I Fast Before Blood Work

Making sense of cholesterol tests

Your doctor may recommend a certain time period for fasting however, the standard amount of time is about eight to 12 hours of no food before having blood drawn. Schedule your blood test for early in the morning so youll only need to fast overnight to meet requirements. Fast for eight hours before a glucose test.

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What Does A Cholesterol Test Measure

In addition to measuring the total cholesterol in your blood, the standard cholesterol test measures three specific kinds of fat:

  • Low-density lipoproteins . This is the “bad cholesterol,” the main cause of plaque build-up, which increases your risk for heart disease. In general, the lower the number, the better. But LDL cholesterol is only one part of a larger equation that measures a personâs overall risk of having a heart attack or stroke. For years, guidelines focused on specific target numbers for individuals to achieve to lower their risk. The most recent guidelines focus on a personâs overall risk and, based on that risk, recommend a certain percentage of LDL reduction as one part of a strategy for preventing serious heart and vascular problems.
  • High-density lipoproteins . This is the “good cholesterol.” It transports bad cholesterol from the blood to the liver, where it is excreted by the body. Your HDL is another part of the equation that identifies the risk of a cardiovascular event. In general, the higher the number the better, although, as with LDL, the emphasis has shifted from specific target numbers to strategies for reducing the overall risk.
  • Triglycerides. Another type of fat in the bloodstream, triglycerides are also linked to heart disease. They are stored in fat cells throughout the body.

More Evidence That Fasting Not Needed Before Cholesterol Tests

This page was fact checked by our expert Medical Review Board for accuracy and objectivity. Read more about our editorial policy and review process.

A new analysis recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine adds to the evidence that people may not have to fast before blood tests to check their cholesterol and other lipid levels. Researchers from Brigham and Womens Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Imperial College in London reviewed data from a study called the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes TrialLipid Lowering Arm for their analysis.

Blood tests to check lipid levels, including total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, are done routinely to help determine a persons risk of heart disease and to decide if and what treatment is necessary. Adults are usually instructed to fast for 9 to 12 hours before these tests, which are typically done together as a lipid panel.

The analysis found little difference between the fasting and non-fasting lipid results from the same individuals, according to the authors. The only difference was moderately higher triglyceride levels in non-fasting samples, which was expected. The researchers also found that fasting and non-fasting lipid levels had similar associations with coronary events. Non-fasting lipid levels reflected risk for heart disease similar to fasting levels.

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