People need not check their cholesterol levels on an empty stomach, suggests new research involving more than 300,000 individuals from Denmark, Canada and the US. So far, fasting has been required before cholesterol and triglyceride measurement in all countries except Denmark, where non-fasting blood sampling has been used since 2009, the study pointed out.
Fasting is a problem for many patients, and the latest research shows that cholesterol and triglyceride levels are similar whether you fast or not.
“This will improve patients’ compliance to preventive treatment aimed at reducing number of heart attacks and strokes — the main killers in the world,” said one of the researchers Borge Nordestgaard from Herlev Hospital, University of Copenhagen.
The research was published in the European Heart Journal.
In Denmark, the use of random, non-fasting cholesterol testing at any time of the day — irrespective of food intake — has been used successfully since 2009. Patients, doctors and laboratories have all benefited from this simplified procedure. For people at work, children, patients with diabetes and the elderly it is particularly beneficial not to have to fast before blood sampling for cholesterol and triglyceride testing.
This is the first international recommendation that fasting is no longer necessary before cholesterol and triglyceride testing. These recommendations represent a joint consensus statement from the European Atherosclerosis Society and European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine involving 21 medical experts from Europe, Australia and the US.
“We hope that non-fasting cholesterol testing will make more patients — together with their doctors — implement lifestyle changes and, if necessary, statin treatment to reduce the global burden of cardiovascular disease and premature death,” Nordestgaard added.