When I was in medical school, I was taught that performing bloodwork after a fast was the best way to assess a patient’s cholesterol and cardiovascular status. As I’ve gained more experience, I’ve found that fasting blood tests really don’t offer much over non-fasting blood tests.
A study in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine attempted to determine whether fasting or non-fasting tests are better for lipid monitoring.
The authors make a convincing argument that non-fasting blood tests should be the standard of care when assessing lipid levels because for most people, the differences between fasting and non-fasting measures are small and not clinically relevant.
Many patients — including elderly people and diabetics — can suffer adverse effects from fasting.
The truth is that there really wasn’t much science behind the idea that fasting tests were better than non-fasting tests. In fact, there are no randomized trials that demonstrated that result.
As with much of medicine, the superiority of fasting blood tests is an old wives’ tale.
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