BBC News reported today that research at Cambridge revealed that patients did not need to fast for 12 hours before having their blood taken for cholesterol measurements (here).
This seems to have created a ripple of excitement amongst patients and care-givers – no more skipping breakfast to have their tests done and potentially, it also meant that blood tests could be taken at any time of day…or so it seemed.
I’m not disputing the findings of the study involving 300,000 people but what the news report failed to specify is that the study refers to the measurement of cholesterol, period. As long as it involves total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol (the ‘good’ one) and LDL-cholesterol (‘bad’ one), that’s well and good.
However, often a lipid profile test includes triglycerides, another type of fat found in the bloodstream. It is essential for people to fast 12 hours or so for this test as intake of food affects the reading significantly. In fact, the most common cause of high readings of triglycerides is inadequate fasting before the test is done.
The measurement of triglycerides is important because high levels play an important part in several diseases like metabolic syndrome, heart disease and pancreatitis.
So it looks like its back to what it was, folks.
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