No Fasting – lipid profile test


No need to fast before lipid profile test

New Delhi: Patients do not need to go on an empty stomach for testing lipid profile when they have to check their cholesterol and triglyceride levels, a new research suggests indicating more people can go for preventive testing which in turn can bring down number of heart attacks and strokes. “We recommend that non-fasting blood samples be routinely used for the assessment of plasma lipid profiles. Laboratory reports should flag abnormal values on the basis of desirable concentration cut-points. Non-fasting and fasting measurements should be complementary but not mutually exclusive,” a latest study, conducted by 21 medical experts from Europe, Australia and the US, published in the European Heart Journal said.

The study involved more than three lakh individuals from Denmark, Canada and the US. Lipid profile, a panel of blood tests primarily used for testing cholesterol and triglycerides levels, is a significant marker for checking a variety of cardiovascular disorders The study pointed out lack of evidence to show fasting is superior to non-fasting when evaluating the lipid profile for cardiovascular risk assessment. Instead, it says the food intake is reflected for almost 24 hours, whereas in clinical practice, the lipid profile is conventionally measured after fasting for at least eight hours.

Hence, there are chances that fasting does not really make a difference. On the contrary, there are advantages to using non-fasting samples rather than fasting samples for measuring the lipid profile as it is expected to improve patient compliance to preventive treatment, researchers said. Many doctors in India endorsed the recommendations and said various renowned hospitals are already going for non-fasting testing.

“Fasting before lipid profile is an outdated practice. Testing of good and bad cholesterol – which are the key indicators – are never impacted by fasting state,” says Dr J P S Sawhney, chairman, department of cardiology in New Delhi’s Ganga Ram Hospital.

According to Dr Sawhney, the findings of the study are very significant in the Indian context where cardiovascular disorders are increasing rapidly and accounts for the highest incidence of disease burden. Early and regular testing can improve the scenario, he said. “Indeed, patients are often inconvenienced by having to return on a separate visit for a fasting lipid profile and may default on essential testing. Also, laboratories are burdened by a large volume of patients attending for tests in the morning,” the study said.

Estimates show more than 50% of Indian adults are at risk of suffering a heart attack before 55 years of age. Cardiovascular diseases also cause the highest number of death globally.

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