New Guidelines Suggest Not to Fast Before Cholesterol Tests

I am always afraid to check my cholesterol level because historically this test requires me to fast for at least eight hours before. And if you are like me, it will be an even more moody test subject. Fortunately, the latest international guidelines say that it is okay to give up fasting.

Recommendations for non-fasting blood sampling are derived from several large-scale population-based studies involving more than 300,000 people, including children, women, men and patients with diabetes. In a joint statement of consensus between the European Atherosclerosis Society and the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, the authors found that there was little difference between fasting and fasting conditions. In fact, the results without fasting were sufficient – sometimes even better – for an overall screening for cardiovascular risk.

Part of the explanation is that most of us spend most of the day after eating at some point, so changes in cholesterol and triglycerides while fasting don’t really give a clear picture of our “normal” levels. (However, you probably shouldn’t eat a greasy food, such as a cheeseburger, before the test.)

When I asked him what he thought of these guidelines, Dr. Yoni Friedhoff , family doctor and associate professor at the University of Ottawa, said:

Practically speaking, this is amazing. Patients often avoid fasting blood donations due to the added difficulty. They do not like fasting, they have a medical condition that doesn’t lend themselves to fasting, they have regular morning chores, and / or are discouraged by long lines of other patients waiting for their fasting blood tests.

The document also notes that this makes life easier not only for patients, but also for general practitioners, laboratories and hospital staff. Everybody wins.

Denmark has standardized non-fasting testing since 2009, while updated guidelines from the UK’s National Institute for Health and Continuing Education also note that non-fasting samples are unnecessary . In other countries, these guidelines are not yet widely adopted.

However, standard procedures such as “abnormal” test values ​​to look out for and conditions for retesting must be carefully thought out and established and may differ from country to country. If your doctor insists that you fast, it would be helpful for both of you to listen so as not to disturb the other parties involved, although Dr. Friedhoff adds that you can “gently advise this doctor to read about not fasting. lipid profile and recommendations “.

Fasting Typically Not Required to Determine Lipid Profile: Clinical and Laboratory Implications, Including Marking of Desired Concentration Thresholds | European Heart Journal


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