Blood Tests for Cholesterol No Longer Require Fasting

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Standard procedure for blood testing to assess cholesterol--triglycerides, LDL, and HDL--has required patients to fast for at least eight hours before blood is drawn. That standard has changed and you may need to inform your physician and testing lab phlebotomist about it, since the latest science findings take a while to filter down into the medical mainstream.
A series of studies comparing fasting versus non-fast blood draws for cholesterol uncovered evidence that fasting can disguise the true level of a connection between lipid concentrations and cardiovascular disease.
A Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine study in 2017, for instance, concluded that "non-fasting lipid testing is appropriate. It is evidence-based, safe, valid, and convenient."
Prior to that, studies in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2017) and the journal Clinical Chemistry (2016) found that true triglyceride levels, in particular, get under measured in the wake of fasting. Triglyceride averages about 26 mg/dl more in non-fasting versus fasting, which makes non-fasting measures closer to the daily levels.
Under this new cholesterol measurement protocol, for non-fasting samples, laboratories should flag as abnormal any concentrations of triglycerides above 175 mg/dl, total cholesterol above 190 mg/dl. LDL above 150 mg/dl, and HDL below 40 mg/dl.
Posted in Advanced Diagnostics on June 23 at 11:40 AM

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