Sunday, 18 November 2012

Fasting cholesterol tests 'not needed'

GPs do not need to ask patients to fast before taking a cholesterol test as it makes very little difference to the results, a large-scale study has suggested.
Canadian researchers found that mean levels of total cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol varied by less than 2% among individuals with fasting times of between one and 16 hours.
The researchers concluded fasting for routine lipid levels was ‘largely unnecessary’, contradicting best practice as recommended by NICE and the Joint British Societies.
Their study looked at the laboratory results of blood samples from 111,048 women and 98,132 men in the community and cross-referenced this with the duration they had fasted before the sample was taken.
The data was from a six-month period in 2011 and researchers controlled for the differing age of patients. They then estimated the mean levels of cholesterol subclasses recorded at different fasting times.
The mean levels of total cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol differed little among individuals with various fasting times, with variations of less than 2%.

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