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Lipid Panel Fasting

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Posted by on Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 2:45
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A lipid panel is ultimately a cholesterol test. It’s used to determine the level of not just total cholesterol, but also low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and triglycerides in your bloodstream. Often referred to as a lipid profile, this blood test is really the first line of defense against high cholesterol. If a reading comes back borderline to high, you and your doctor can take certain measures to bring your levels down into a healthy range. But you can’t just go into your clinic and have a lipid panel run; you first need to prepare for the test. One of the requirements is a short period of fasting.

Lipid Panel Fasting
Lipid Panel Fasting

Fasting Requirements

In order for lipid panel test results to be accurate, a patient must fast for 12 hours prior to the test. This allows the body to process and eliminate any fat you have recently eaten. Generally, this means nothing can be ingested during this time frame, with the exception of water. However, every patient is different. Some will be allowed to continue taking required medications during this period, as long as the medication doesn’t affect the results of the lipid panel. It’s important for the patient to also mention if she is currently using any vitamins or herbal supplements.

In some cases, patients will be allowed to drink coffee or tea. The doctor will let the patient know what fluids are allowed; if he fails to mention what fluids are permitted, the patient should ask, rather than assume. Solid food of any kind is not allowed. This includes all gum, and especially gum with sugar.

Consequences of Not Fasting

Failing to fast, whether deliberately or accidentally, can result in inaccurate lipid panel results, which could lead to being unnecessarily treated for high cholesterol. To avoid this, the patient should notify the lab in advance if he has forgotten or failed to fast. This will help avoid unnecessary treatments and additional blood draws.

Lipid Panel Test Results

A lipid panel test checks the levels of different types of cholesterol and fats in the blood, which are also referred to as lipids. Lipid panel results give the doctor four different types of cholesterol levels. These include total cholesterol, low density lipoprotein (LDL), high density lipoprotein (HDL) and triglycerides, a form of fat found in the blood.

In regard to total cholesterol level, a result of 200 milligrams per deciliter or less is considered normal. A level between 201 and 239 milligrams is considered borderline, and levels of 240 milligrams per deciliter or higher is considered high. For HDL, considered by doctors to be “good cholesterol,” 60 milligrams per deciliter or more is considered good, and 40 milligrams per deciliter or lower is too low, indicating increased risk of cardiovascular disease. HDL levels between 40 and 60 milligrams is considered moderate.

LDL, or bad cholesterol, should be 100 milligrams per deciliter or less; 160 milligrams per deciliter or more puts a patient at increased risk for a heart attack. A triglycerides level of 200 milligrams per deciliter or higher is also believed to raise the risk of heart disease; however, a person’s triglyceride level is considered a less important factor than cholesterol.

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