Fast Before Drawing My Cholesterol?
Updated: Dec 1, 2019
Can I Draw My Labs Today?
Many patients wonder if they can draw their cholesterol, last minute, prior to their doctor’s appointment. For example, let's say you forgot to draw your cholesterol labs before your appointment (or the cardiologist's office called you too late).
Can you draw your labs without fasting for 12 hours? The answer is ‘yes’. (click for the link)
It is perfectly fine to draw your labs non-fasting. In fact, it may even be preferrable. This has been known for many years. Very few people fast for 12 hours in their daily life, so if you think about it, the cholesterol values that doctors review may not be reflective of your every day life.
The only issue with non-fasting labs is that your triglycerides and glucose may be elevated. However, a non-fasting cholesterol panel is just as accurate as fasting panel and it may improve compliance since you don't have to starve yourself for 12 hours before your blood test.
What Should You Do?
Because doctors are so accustomed to ‘fasting’ labs, if you do not fast before your blood test, you will get a lot of strange looks by the lab techs, and office staff…and even a lecture from your doctor. In other words, regardless of what I just wrote above, try to draw your labs fasting so not to furrow too many eyebrows.
However, you now know that it’s perfectly reasonable to draw non-fasting cholesterol labs (not necessarily glucose unless accompanied by an A1c) if you are in a time crunch!
Note: Understanding your heart condition is not difficult. Patients become frustrated and confused when doctors don’t explain things clearly. If you don’t understand what your doctor is talking about, then you won’t be able to ask meaningful questions. I hope that my posts provide you with a framework that you can build upon to become an active participant in your healthcare.
Gregg Yamada MD FACC
Disclaimer: I hope you find my medical blogs to be pertinent, interesting, thought provoking, and even humorous. The information provided is educational and should not be taken as medical advice. Please schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss these issues and to determine what is right for you.
© 2019. Gregg M. Yamada, MD FACC. All rights reserved.