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How Long Should You Fast Before A Cholesterol Test

Why Is Fasting Required For A Cholesterol Test

Why You Should Fast 12 Hours Before a Cholesterol Test

Simply put, eating and drinking can interfere with your test result. When you consume food and beverages, excess cholesterol can enter the body and skew the number.

Whatâs more, if you eat or drink within several hours of your test, you risk receiving an incomplete picture of your overall cholesterol numbers, which include HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. If you skip fasting, only your HDL cholesterol and total cholesterol levels are usable.

What Do I Need To Know Before Getting Screened

A cholesterol test is a simple blood test. Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before the test. The results give you four measurements:5

  • Total cholesterol. About 150 mg/dL is considered optimal.
  • LDL cholesterol. About 100 mg/dL is considered optimal. LDL is sometimes called bad cholesterol, because it can build up and clog your arteries, eventually leading to heart disease or stroke.
  • HDL cholesterol. It is best to have greater than or equal to 40 mg/dL in men and 50 mg/dL in women. HDL is sometimes called good cholesterol, because it can help clear arteries of cholesterol buildup.
  • Triglycerides. This is a type of fat in the blood. Optimal levels are typically less than 150 mg/dL.

Where To Get A Cholesterol Test

NHS cholesterol testThe NHS offers blood tests that can be done at your GPs or a local hospital. A trained nurse or doctor will take your blood, usually a venous sample.

Home cholesterol test Its possible to order a home blood test online and do it yourself. For this test, youll use a lancet to collect a finger-prick blood sample. Your results will be reviewed by a GP and are available for you to view online.

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What Are Risk Factors For High Blood Cholesterol

Lifestyle, some health conditions, and family history can raise your risk for high cholesterol. Your doctor may suggest you have your cholesterol checked more often if you have risk factors, such as the following:

  • A family history of heart disease or high blood cholesterol. You are more at risk of having high cholesterol if other people in your family have it. This may be due to genetics, but it may also be that families share the same unhealthy lifestyle habits. Some people also have a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolemia, which can cause high levels of low-density lipoprotein , or bad, cholesterol from a young age.
  • Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes raises bad cholesterol and lowers high-density lipoprotein , or good, cholesterol, raising the risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • Older age. As you age, your body cant clear cholesterol as well as it used to.
  • Being male. Men tend to have higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels than women do. But after menopause , LDL cholesterol levels in women increase.3,4
  • Having overweight or obesity. Excess weight, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of physical activity can lead to high cholesterol.
  • Previously having had high cholesterol. If you have a history of high cholesterol, your doctor may want you to keep a closer watch on your cholesterol.

Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before the test.

Can I Drink Water Before A Blood Test

#normalcholesterollevels is cholesterol damage reversible?

Yes, you can drink water while fasting before a blood testin fact, drinking plenty of water can help ensure that you receive accurate test results. Dehydration can affect certain blood tests such as cholesterol, electrolyte and BUN tests. Be sure to stay hydrated before your test by drinking the recommended amount of water for your weight and activity level.

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What You Need To Know About Fasting Lab Tests

If youre not feeling well and your doctor isnt sure why, he or she may order lab tests to help better understand whats going on inside your body. One test they may order is a fasting lab test. Before this blood test, you may be asked to stop eating or drinking for a few hours before.

While not all lab tests require it, some tests require fasting for the most accurate results. Most of the time, this means youll be asked to stop having any food or liquid between eight to 24 hours before your lab test or bloodwork, depending on the test.

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How Is Cholesterol Tested

Cholesterol is measured using a blood test. A healthcare provider will draw your blood using a needle and collect it in a vial. This typically takes place at your doctors office or at a lab where the blood is then analyzed.

The test only takes a couple of minutes and is relatively painless. However, you might have some soreness or bruising on your arm around the injection site.

Your results will likely be available in a few days or within a couple of weeks.

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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
  • 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.

Cholesterol Tests: The Good The Bad And The Fatty

Cholesterol Testing, To Fast or Not To Fast?

The different kinds of cholesterol and other fats in your blood are together called lipids. Doctors measure and diagnose lipid problems with a simple blood test. Some doctors ask you to fast for 9 to 12 hours before it to make sure it’s not affected by any food you recently ate. But not all situations require fasting. You may not need it if youâre younger than 25, or if you require only a partial lipid panel, or if your doctor is looking for a ânon-fastingâ result.

In particular, some doctors are especially interested in ânon-fastingâ triglyceride levels, but it is not yet clear how this helps calculate risk for heart disease and other cholesterol-related illnesses. Ask your health care provider if you need to fast for your test.

A lipid profile usually gives results for four different types:

  • Total cholesterol
  • LDL , the “bad cholesterol”
  • HDL , the “good cholesterol”
  • Triglycerides, the most common type of fat in your body

Some lipid panels can give even more detailed information, like the presence and sizes of various fat particles in your blood. Researchers are looking into what, if any, effect these traits have on heart disease. There are no clear guidelines on when this more advanced testing is needed.

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Procedure And Significance Of Fasting Before Cholesterol Test

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance present naturally in the body. It plays an important role in the body by helping produce many hormones including Vitamin D and the bile acids that help in the digestion of food. Only small amounts of cholesterol are required by the body for its normal functioning and any excess amounts of cholesterol will get deposited in the artery walls throughout the body. This will lead to the narrowing of the arteries supplying blood to the heart resulting in lesser blood flow to the heart causing angina and heart attack. The same happens to the carotid arteries that supply blood to the brain causing a stroke. High cholesterol itself does not show any symptoms, and therefore a fasting cholesterol test is required to determine if your body cholesterol levels are high and assess the risk of developing heart or brain diseases.

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 its not just about your cholesterol. Your doctor uses your cholesterol levels plus other things to calculate your risk. These include:

  • Your blood pressure.

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Fasting Before A Cholestrol Test


Doctors often ask their patients to observe a fast before drawing their blood. Blood tests often require about 12hrs of fasting. This is to get exact results which are not possible if you have anything other than water before certain hours of the test.

To get baseline results which is free from extra nutrients or extra sugar levels from foods you have had before the test, they ask you to fast.

Things To Do To Reduce Cholesterol Before The Blood Test

How to Fast Before a Blood Cholesterol Test

There are a handful of natural everyday modifications that you can implement into your daily routine to drop your cholesterol levels.


From full-fat dairy and sugary beverages to processed madness, you simply must avoid this range of food-types if you want to take cholesterol-lowering seriously.

  • You can still consume meat. As long as you pair your meals with fresh fruits, whole grains, and veggies.
  • Plants rich in fibre are excellent choices, particularly soluble fibre.
  • Recommendations: berries, barley, beans , oats, yams.

Plant Protein

In close connection to the previous point, consuming plant-based protein is a step in the best direction.

  • Beans, beans, and more beans.
  • Recommendations: Pinto, soy, lentils, red.
  • Unlike animal protein, which raises blood pressure, beans are renowned for bringing it down.
  • They also reduce blood sugar and insulin levels that have led scientists to believe beans play a significant role in cancer prevention and treatment.

Good Fat

If youve heard the name omega-3 fatty acids, then you can be sure the Diet-Universe has spoken to you.

  • This is not just good fat, but great fat, owing in large part to how well it fights heart disease.
  • Food sources: sardines, herring, salmon, trout, mackerel, halibut.

Below are some bad fats you absolutely need to avoid if you have any plans of getting your cholesterol under control.

White Foods

You knew this point was going to land at your door sooner or later.

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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.

Can You Drink Alcohol If Youre Fasting Before A Blood Test

Some blood tests, such as those that assess liver health or triglyceride levels, may require you to not drink any alcohol for a full 24 hours. Trace amounts of alcohol can remain in your bloodstream for several days. If you have any concerns about alcohol consumption, discuss this with your doctor when you schedule your test.

Also ask your doctor if you can smoke cigarettes before the test, or if you should refrain from smoking during your fast.

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How Is The Test Used

The lipid panel is used as part of a cardiac risk assessment to help determine your risk of heart disease and to help make decisions about what treatment may be best if you have borderline risk, intermediate risk, or high risk. Initial screening may involve only a single test for total cholesterol and not a full lipid panel. However, if the screening cholesterol test result is high, it will likely be followed by testing with a lipid panel.

The results of the lipid panel are considered along with other known risk factors of heart disease to develop a plan of treatment and follow-up. Depending on the results and other risk factors, treatment options may involve lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise or medications that lower lipid levels, typically statins.

Additionally, a lipid panel may be used to monitor whether treatment has been effective in lowering cholesterol levels.

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Can You Reverse Gestational Diabetes

Fasting for a Blood Test: Dos and Donts

There is no need for gestational diabetes to take away from the joys of pregnancy. Unlike other types of diabetes, gestational diabetes usually goes away on its own and soon after delivery blood sugar levels return to normal, says Dr. Tania Esakoff, clinical director of the Prenatal Diagnosis Center.

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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.

Fasting Before A Lipid Panel Test

Lipid panel is a test done to determine the cholesterol levels in the human body. High cholesterol levels can prove to be fatal, as they may arise the risk of heart attack and diabetes. One needs to fast before taking this test. This HealthHearty article will give you the necessary information required to be well prepared before you go for a lipid profile.

Lipid panel is a test done to determine the cholesterol levels in the human body. High cholesterol levels can prove to be fatal, as they may arise the risk of heart attack and diabetes. One needs to fast before taking this test. This HealthHearty article will give you the necessary information required to be well prepared before you go for a lipid profile.

Lipid panel, or lipid profile, is another name for a complete cholesterol test which helps identify the level of cholesterol and triglycerides in blood. This further helps detecting the risk of heart failure and other diseases. If the bloodstream has high cholesterol levels, then there are chances that your arteries have high buildup of plaque, which can lead to narrowed and/or blocked arteries in your body, causing heart failure or peripheral artery disease.

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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.

When Is It Ordered

Upper &  Lower Limits for Cholesterol

Adults with no other risk factors for heart disease should be tested with a fasting lipid panel once every four to six years.

If you have risk factors or if previous testing showed that you had a high cholesterol level, more frequent testing with a full lipid panel is recommended.

Examples of risk factors other than high LDL-C include:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Being physically inactivenot getting enough exercise
  • Family history of premature heart disease
  • Pre-existing heart disease or already having had a heart attack
  • Diabetes or prediabetes
  • Children, teens, and young adults with no risk factors should have a lipid panel once between the ages of 9 and 11 and again between 17 and 21, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics .

    Children, teens, and young adults with an increased risk of developing heart disease as adults should have earlier and more frequent screening with lipid panels. Some of the risk factors are similar to those in adults and include a family history of heart disease or health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or being overweight. High-risk children should be tested between 2 and 8 years old with a fasting lipid panel, according to the AAP.

    Children younger than 2 years old are too young to be tested.

    For additional details on this, see the screening articles for Children, Teens, Young Adults, Adults, and Adults 50 and Up.


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