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
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.
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.
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Diabetes And The Blood Glucose Test
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and teenagers whose bodies arent able to produce enough insulin. Its a chronic or long-term condition that requires continuous treatment. Late-onset type 1 diabetes has been shown to affect people between the ages of 30 and 40.
Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed in overweight and obese adults, but it can develop in younger people as well. This condition occurs when your body doesnt make enough insulin or when the insulin you produce doesnt work properly. The impact of type 2 diabetes may be reduced through weight loss and healthy eating.
Gestational diabetes occurs if you develop diabetes while youre pregnant. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after you give birth.
After receiving a diagnosis of diabetes, you may have to get blood glucose tests to determine if your condition is being managed well. A high glucose level in a person with diabetes may mean that your diabetes isnt being managed correctly.
Other possible causes of high blood glucose levels include:
- hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid
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:
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Fasting Before A Blood Test: Drinking Coffee Eating And More
Certain blood tests require fasting beforehand. If your healthcare provider has instructed you to fast before your upcoming test, it means that you should not eat or drink anything for the specified amount of time before having your blood drawn.
Understanding why fasting is important and how to properly fast before a blood test can be helpful for eliminating pre-test anxiety and simplifying the testing process. Below, learn how to fast for a blood test correctly to help make sure that your test results are accurate.
What You Can Do About Abnormal Lipid Levels
Lifestyle changes are the first thing to tackle to reduce your chance of heart disease. Your doctor may also recommend that you start takingprescription drugs to help your cholesterol level.
Lifestyle habits to lower cholesterol
A cholesterol-lowering diet can bring down bad cholesterol by up to 30%. A diet low in saturated fat and simple carbohydrates and that has no more than 200 miliigrams of cholesterol daily can lower LDL cholesterol. Fiber and plant sterols help, too.
Keep these dietary tips in mind:
- Cut saturated fat to less than 7% of your total calories.
- Avoid trans fat completely. Check the ingredients label for âpartially hydrogenatedâ oils. Those are trans fats. Even if a product says 0 grams trans fat, it can have a small amount of trans fat , and that adds up.
- Read food labels. Products that say âlow cholesterolâ or âno cholesterolâ could be too high in saturated fats or sugar.
Regular aerobic exercise can lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol . If you smoke, quit.
Lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and weight loss are also effective ways to improve your triglyceride levels. Ask your doctor for a sensible diet that will help. If you smoke, get suggestions on ways to help you quit.
Medications and procedures
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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.
Your Cholesterol Test Results
Once youve had your test, what do the numbers mean?
For total cholesterol:
- 200 milligrams per deciliter or less is normal.
- 201 to 240 mg/dL is borderline.
- More than 240 mg/dL is high.
For HDL , more is better:
- 60 mg/dL or higher is good it protects against heart disease.
- 40 to 59 mg/dL is OK.
- Less than 40 mg/dL is low, raising your chance of heart disease.
For LDL , lower is better:
- Less than 100 mg/dL is ideal.
- 100 to 129 mg/dL can be good, depending on your health.
- 130 to 159 mg/dL is borderline high.
- 160 to 189 mg/dL is high.
- 190 mg/dL or more is very high.
For triglycerides, lower is better:
- 150 mg/dL or less may be the goal your doctor recommends, though the American Heart Association suggests that a lower level is best for health.
- 151 to 200 mg/dL means youâre on your way to a higher risk for heart disease.
- More than 200 mg/dL means you have a higher risk of heart disease.
Your doctor will consider your overall likelihood of heart disease to set your personal LDL goal. For people who are at higher risk of heart disease or who already have it, your LDL should be less than 100 mg/dL.
If you have a moderately high chance of heart disease, an LDL less than 130 mg/dL is your target. If your risk of heart problems is fairly low, less than 160 mg/dL is probably fine.
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Urine Test For Blood Sugar
Urine does not normally contain glucose. The kidneys filter our blood, keeping substances the body needs, while getting rid of waste products. Your kidneys constantly reabsorb glucose so that it doesnât enter your urine. However, if the glucose level goes above a certain level, the kidneys canât reabsorb all of the glucose. This means that some glucose will âspillâ through the kidneys into the urine.
A simple dipstick test can detect glucose in a sample of urine. In a dipstick test a doctor or nurse uses a special chemical strip which he/she dips into a sample of your urine. Colour changes on the strip show whether there is glucose in the urine sample. If you have glucose in your urine, you are likely to have diabetes.
However, some people have kidneys that are more âleakyâ and glucose may leak into urine with a normal blood level. Therefore, if your urine contains any glucose, you should have a blood test to measure the blood level of glucose to confirm, or rule out, diabetes.
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.
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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.
Why Do I Need A Cholesterol Test
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance. Your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs. But you take in more cholesterol from certain foods, such as those from animals. If you have too much cholesterol in your body, it can build up in the walls of your arteries and eventually harden. This process, called atherosclerosis, actually narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to travel through the vessels.
Unfortunately, high cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms. In later stages of atherosclerosis, though, you may suffer angina — severe chest pain from lack of blood flow to the heart. If an artery gets totally blocked, a heart attack results. A routine blood cholesterol test is a far better way of finding out what your cholesterol level is.
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Why Do I Need To Fast Before My Blood Test
If your health care provider has told you to fast before a blood test, it means you should not eat or drink anything, except water, for several hours before your test. When you eat and drink normally, those foods and beverages are absorbed into your bloodstream. That could affect the results of certain types of blood tests.
What To Expect During The Test
A cholesterol test is a simple blood test during which a technician will generally seat the person in a chair with a special armrest. The technician will then tie a rubber strip around the persons arm to try to find a suitable vein from which to draw blood.
After finding a vein, the technician will clean the area with alcohol, insert a needle attached to a tube into the persons vein, and allow the tube to fill.
When the tube is full of blood, the technician will remove the needle and hold gauze on the site of the puncture. The technician may ask the person to apply pressure for a few minutes to stop the bleeding, and they might apply a small bandage over the gauze.
At this point, the test is complete, and the person is usually free to go about their normal daily activities.
The results will tell a doctor if the levels of cholesterol in a persons blood are healthy.
The test measures several types of cholesterol in a persons blood in mg/dl. It is possible to break down the results by type of cholesterol.
HDL results measure the amount of good cholesterol in a persons blood. Higher readings tend to be better than lower readings:
|60 mg/dl or higher|
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Can You Eat Before Any Blood Test
Many types of blood tests dont require you to fast. A healthcare provider will let you know if, and for how long, you need to avoid eating.
For all types of blood tests, including fasting tests, you can still drink plain water. You should avoid other drinks like coffee, tea, juices, and alcoholic beverages.
The following tips may help make fasting for your blood test easier:
- Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water before your test makes your blood vessels easier to find.
- Schedule a morning test. If your blood test is in the morning, youll likely only need to skip one meal.
- Eat before fasting. Eating directly before your fasting window reduces the amount of time you need to avoid food. For example, if your test is at 9 a.m. and you need to fast for 12 hours, you may want to eat your last meal around 8:30 p.m. the night before.
- Avoid exercising during your fast. Exercise speeds up digestion and causes you to burn extra calories.
- Keep yourself distracted. Keeping yourself busy may help take your mind off your hunger.
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Whatll It Be: Feast Or Fast
If youre not taking statins, you might not have to fast.
For years, doctors ordered fasts before cholesterol tests. The logic? Scientists thought chowing down affected lipid levels . They also thought eating distorted low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
Recently, scientists have found that fasting has minimal impact on test results for total cholesterol level, LDL cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
In fact, testing after eating may help better predict cardiovascular risk, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Since most people chow down throughout the day, post-meal tests may best reflect normal lipid levels.
Recent guidelines from the American College of Cardiology advise that as long as youre not taking statins, you might not have to fast.
Hold that acai bowl does that mean youre in the clear? Not necessarily. Many doctors say to fast anyway, so always listen up.
Though eating doesnt significantly impact three measures of the test, it can affect the fourth. Eating can raise your triglyceride levels for several hours especially if you enjoy a high fat meal . The effect is usually small, though.
If the reading seems too high, your doctor may order another test post-fast.
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How Is A Cholesterol Test Done
A cholesterol test is a simple blood test. Usually, you will be asked to fast for about 10-12 hours before the test but not more than 16 hours. The test is therefore often done in the morning after an overnight fast. It is usually recommended to drink some water during this time, to avoid dehydration, and you will usually be allowed to take your regular medicines. The pathology service that does your blood test or your doctor will be able to advise you of the exact requirements. If you have diabetes, you should seek your doctors advice before fasting.
Blood will be sent to the lab for testing, and the results will be sent to your doctor.
It May Not Be Necessary To Fast Before A Routine Cholesterol Check A Large Community
This article is a collaboration between MedPage Today and:
It may not be necessary to fast before a routine cholesterol check, a large community-based population study suggested.
Overall, the mean cholesterol subclass levels varied by less than 2% for total cholesterol and high density lipoprotein cholesterol, by less than 10% for calculated low density lipoprotein cholesterol, and by less than 20% for triglycerides, reported Christopher Naugler, MSc, MD, of the University of Calgary in Alberta, and colleagues.
- It may not be necessary to fast before a routine cholesterol check.
- Note that the researchers found only a few statistically significant differences among cholesterol subclass levels for fasting intervals when compared with either a 9- to 12-hour fasting time or a greater than 8-hour fasting time.
“This finding suggests that fasting for routine lipid level determinations is largely unnecessary,” they said in the Nov. 12 Archives of Internal Medicine.
The finding is not new and corroborates results from smaller observational studies.
Naugler and colleagues noted that fasting is inconvenient for patients and “may discourage compliance with routine screening programs.”
They also suggested that eating before cholesterol testing can highlight insulin resistance, which is “associated with worse postprandial lipid or lipoprotein clearance.” In addition, high triglyceride levels after eating are “excellent predictors of insulin resistance.”
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