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How Long To Fast Before Cholesterol Test

What About Fasting For A Blood Test During Pregnancy

Why You Should Fast 12 Hours Before a Cholesterol Test

There are several blood tests you may need if youre pregnant. These are designed to assess any potential health concerns that you or your baby might experience during pregnancy or after you give birth. Some of these tests will require you to fast beforehand. Your doctor will advise you how to prepare for each test.

Fasting is usually safe if youre pregnant, provided youre in good health and arent having a high-risk pregnancy. For your overall comfort, your doctor may advise you to drink extra water or to remain indoors, especially if the weather is very hot or humid.

Fasting may increase heartburn in some pregnant women. If you experience uncomfortable or concerning symptoms of any kind while youre waiting to have your blood drawn, let your doctor know immediately.

If youre seeing a doctor other than your obstetrician-gynecologist, make sure they are made aware of your pregnancy before your blood test.

Results Of Cholesterol Tests

After your cholesterol test, your GP or nurse will explain your results. They will calculate the risk you have of developing heart disease or stroke within the next 10 years.

This risk is not just based on your cholesterol reading.

It also takes into account:

  • your BMI which measures your weight in relation to your height
  • treatable risk factors like high blood pressure , diabetes and other medical conditions
  • your age, sex, family history and ethnicity

Based on your results, your GP or nurse will recommend steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

This may include advice about making lifestyle changes. These could include eating more healthily and exercising more.

They may also recommend cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins.

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.

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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.

The History Behind Fasting Cholesterol Tests

How to Fast Before a Blood Cholesterol Test

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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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.

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:

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Will Eating Or Fasting Affect The Results

According to the American Heart Association , in the past, healthcare professionals have recommended that people fast for 912 hours before having a cholesterol test.

The United Kingdoms National Health Service explains that there are two ways to measure someones cholesterol.

One method is a finger prick test. In this, a person pricks their finger and places a drop of blood on a strip of paper. This strip of paper then goes into a machine that checks the cholesterol levels within minutes.

Another method involves taking blood from the arm. In this, a healthcare professional will draw blood from the arm and send the sample to a laboratory for the results. This method may require a person to fast.

However, a paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology suggests that for people aged 20 years and older who are not taking cholesterol lowering medications, there seems to be little difference between fasting blood tests and non-fasting blood tests in terms of their accuracy and ability to estimate cardiovascular risk.

The foods that people eat can affect the level of triglycerides in their blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. According to the paper above, a fasting blood test may be necessary when the results of a non-fasting blood test indicate a triglyceride level of 400 milligrams per deciliter or higher.

Can You Fast Too Long For A Blood Test

Fasting for a Blood Test: Dos and Dontâs

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A fasting blood glucose test can diagnose diabetes. Diabetes is a condition that can lead to there being too much sugar in the blood. It is important that a person has not had anything to eat or drink other than water for 8 to 10 hours before a fasting blood glucose test.

Also, is 6 hours enough for fasting blood work? Typically, people are asked to fast for 6 to 8 hours for these tests. They must also let the doctor know what medications they take, as some can interfere with the test.

In respect to this, can you brush your teeth when your fasting for a blood test?

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.

What is a normal blood sugar level after fasting for 12 hours?

A blood sample will be taken after an overnight fast. A fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL is normal. A fasting blood sugar level from 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes. If its 126 mg/dL or higher on two separate tests, you have diabetes.

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What Is My Risk Of A Heart Attack If I Have High Cholesterol

High cholesterol increases your risk of a heart attack. The higher the cholesterol, the higher the risk. However, many other factors also affect your risk of a heart attack, such as smoking, diabetes, age, and high blood pressure. For more information on related risk factors, read the American Heart Associations article Understand Your Risk for High Cholesterol.

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When To Get Tested

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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What Happens During A Cholesterol Test

The cholesterol test, or screening, requires a simple blood draw. You may need to fast for 8 to 12 hours before your cholesterol test. Be sure to ask your doctor how to prepare for the test.

The cholesterol test checks your levels of:

  • Low-density lipoprotein or badcholesterol. Having high levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries and result in heart disease or stroke.
  • High-density lipoprotein or goodcholesterol. HDL is known as good cholesterol because high levels can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood that your body uses for energy. The combination of high levels of triglycerides with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol levels can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
  • Total cholesterol, the total amount of cholesterol in your blood based on your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides numbers.

How To Prep For This Test

#normalcholesterollevels is cholesterol damage reversible?

If you dont have to fast, doctors still advise steering clear of fatty foods the night before the test. Both fasters and nonfasters should skip alcohol for at least 24 hours beforehand.

Research suggests that heavy exercise can affect the results, so some doctors recommend skipping the gym on the day of your test. You may also need to avoid certain medications.

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Can You Drink Coffee If Youre Fasting Before A Blood Test

Even if you drink it black, coffee can interfere with blood test results. Thats because it contains caffeine and soluble plant matter, which might skew your test results.

Coffee is also a diuretic, which means that it will increase how much you pee. This can have a dehydrating effect. The less hydrated you are, the harder it can be for the nurse or other medical professional whos doing your blood test to find a vein. This can make the blood test harder or more stressful for you.

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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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 BadCholesterol 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.

How Is A Total Cholesterol Test Different From A Lipid Panel

do I have to fast before i take my cholesterol test?

A total cholesterol test measures only the sum of all kinds of cholesterol. A lipid panel includes the total cholesterol measurement but also determines the levels of HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. For this reason, a lipid panel offers more detail and is more commonly used as a test for initial cholesterol screening.

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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.

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.

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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.

How Is A Cholesterol Test Performed

How Long Do I Have to Fast Before Taking a Cholesterol Test?

To check your cholesterol levels, your doctor will need to get a sample of your blood. You will probably have your blood drawn in the morning, sometimes after fasting since the night before.

A blood test is an outpatient procedure. It takes only a few minutes and is relatively painless. Its usually performed at a diagnostic lab. In some cases, it can also be performed during a regular doctor visit, at a local pharmacy, or even at home.

Walk-in clinic rates usually cost anywhere from $50 to $100. Cholesterol testing at a local pharmacy can cost $5 to $25. An at-home test can cost anywhere from $15 to $25, while tests that need to be shipped to a lab can average from $75 to $200.

If you have health insurance, cholesterol tests that are ordered by your doctor will likely be fully or partially covered by your health insurance plan.

There are very few risks associated with having your blood drawn for a cholesterol test. You may feel slightly faint or have some soreness or pain at the site where your blood was drawn. Theres also a very slight risk of infection at the puncture site.

The reliability of home cholesterol tests can vary between brands. The reliability can also be affected by how well you follow the test instructions.

In a , researchers found that two point-of-care lipid testing devices were relatively accurate and operated within the industry standards. This means that:

To help lower your bad cholesterol levels:

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