Fasting unnecessary before cholesterol tests, study finds

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Starving yourself overnight before having your blood taken for a cholesterol test may not be necessary after all. A new study finds there s only a slight difference between fasting and nonfasting cholesterol levels. There was some fluctuation with diet for triglyceride levels and blood sugar, however, but even that was slight.

Researchers with the University of Calgary, Alberta, examined laboratory data from nearly 210,000 participants for the study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Michael Gaziano of Brigham and Women s Hospital writes that the incremental gain in information of a fasting profile is exceedingly small for total and HDL cholesterol values and likely does not offset the logistic impositions placed on our patients, the laboratories, and our ability to provide timely counseling to our patients.

ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross agrees and notes he s been saying this for years. There s no need to make people fast for six to eight hours before you measure cholesterol levels, including both total cholesterol and LDL/HDL levels. Part of the art of medicine is grabbing people when you got them, and not telling them to come back next week, cause quite often they don t.