As science continues to evolve, it also comes across revelations that alter the way we approach various medical issues. For instance, it is common for a medical professional to ask that their patients fast prior to undergoing a cholesterol test that gauges their lipid levels. This discovery was made as a result of scientific research undertaken by several scientists from the University of Calgary, Canada. Their report was recently published by Archives of Internal Medicine and it stated that fasting has little to no significant effect on the subclass of lipids, which may come to render the habit of fasting unnecessary. According to the report, lipid levels only change to a minimum extent in profiles that were completed in a non-fasting state. Yet another assumption that the report makes is that lipid profile results completed after the ingestion of food might be more accurate than those completed in a fasting state.
The test was a second look taken at several sets and subsets of data, collected over the duration of 6 months in 2011. The data had been collected from over 209,000 respondents, of which more than 111,000 were women, and included lipid profile test results, as well as the duration of the fasting period the test subjects had exposed themselves to prior to taking the profile, expressed in hours.
Our research via www.healthtestingcenters.com/cholesterol-test.aspx indicates that the American Heart Association recommends a fasting lipid profile to all adults aged past twenty. A complete lipid profile looks at the total cholesterol level present in the body, the levels of HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, as well as at the presence of triglycerides. Total cholesterol levels over 200 indicate an increased risk of heart disease, while with HDL and LDL, the rule of thumb is that the more of the former and less of the latter – the better. Low HDL can be caused by certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking or abuse of alcohol (as is also the case with high triglyceride levels), while elevated LDL levels are usually associated with an increased risk of a stroke or a heart attack.
Meanwhile, the scientists at the University of Alberta are saying that it doesn’t look like fasting prior to completing a lipid panel would make too much of a difference for people with average cholesterol levels. There was less than a 2 per cent variation for total cholesterol and HDL levels, as well as an under 10 per cent variation for LDL, plus one below 20 per cent for triglycerides. The authors of the study concluded that the informational gain obtained from fasting lipid profiles was too small to warrant such practices. The verdict in the medical community is still out on these findings, however. In a commentary on the original research report, several experts from the Harvard Medical School and other elite institutions showed that there is a need for more research specifically targeting the issue of fasting versus non-fasting lipid profiles, before any amendment to current laws is made. However, for the time being it is certain that both fasting and non-fasting profiles can be used for assessing risks of cardiovascular disease, as well as for informing other therapeutic decisions.