No need to fast for cholesterol test

Nov 13, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Patients do not need to fast before having their cholesterol tested, a major study has found.

Published in the , it is hoped the report, involving two University of Glasgow experts, will inform guidelines on cholesterol testing in the UK.

Cholesterol tests are used as a key part of assessing a patient's risk of cardiovascular problems. Fasting has been recommended as it had been thought the body needed enough time to digest food in the system and to clear any fatty particles from the blood. This was in order to produce an accurate reading of so-called "bad" cholesterol - or (LDL).

However, Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine and Chris Packard, an Honorary Professor in Developmental Medicine, both of Glasgow, together with researchers from the University of Cambridge, found that test results were just as accurate without fasting.

"After analysing data from 300,000 patients, the results were just as accurate if the patient had eaten before the test," said Professor Sattar.

Lead researcher John Danesh, Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at the University of Cambridge, continued: "For decades, people have been asked to fast overnight before their cholesterol tests. Our findings indicate that cholesterol measurements are at least as good - and probably somewhat better - when made without fasting."

The study also adds to the ongoing controversy over whether testing for called apolipoproteins is a more reliable way of predicting heart risk than cholesterol testing.

"The studies showed that analysing "good" cholesterol - or high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in conjunction with LDL was just as informative as testing for apolipoproteins AI and B. Furthermore our paper shows that once "bad" cholesterol and "good" HDL-cholesterol are known, using the levels of triglycerides or fat in the blood, as a means to predict the risk of heart disease, is unhelpful," said Professor Sattar.

Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, which funded the study, said: "Given the pressure the NHS is under, it is good news that doctors don't need to spend money on setting up more sophisticated tests based on apolipoproteins. But the study underlines the importance of all GPs being able to measure HDL cholesterol as well as total , in order to make the best predictions about heart disease risk."

Cardiovascular disease is the leading form of death in the UK and many other parts of the world.

Provided by University of Glasgow

Explore further: The impact of bacteria in our guts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

High triglycerides, other cholesterol raise risk of stroke

Dec 27, 2007

People with high triglycerides and another type of cholesterol tested but not usually evaluated as part of a person’s risk assessment have an increased risk of a certain type of stroke, according to research published in ...

Recommended for you

The impact of bacteria in our guts

22 hours ago

The word metabolism gets tossed around a lot, but it means much more than whether you can go back to the buffet for seconds without worrying about your waistline. In fact, metabolism is the set of biochemical ...

Stem cell therapies hold promise, but obstacles remain

22 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—In an article appearing online today in the journal Science, a group of researchers, including University of Rochester neurologist Steve Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., review the potential and ch ...

New hope in fight against muscular dystrophy

23 hours ago

Research at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology offers hope to those who suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an incurable, debilitating disease that cuts young lives short.

Biologists reprogram skin cells to mimic rare disease

Aug 21, 2014

Johns Hopkins stem cell biologists have found a way to reprogram a patient's skin cells into cells that mimic and display many biological features of a rare genetic disorder called familial dysautonomia. ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Paul123
Nov 13, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Nartoon
1 / 5 (1) Nov 14, 2009
Skeptical Denier!!!
eguerxet
Dec 24, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.