A fasting lipid profile test is a blood test that measures the levels of fats and cholesterol in your blood. A non-fasting lipid profile test is a blood test that does not require you to fast before the test. There are many differences between these two, and some are listed below:
- A fasting lipid profile test is usually done in the morning after an overnight fast. A non-fasting lipid profile test can be done at any time.
- Fasting for a lipid profile test ensures that your triglyceride levels are accurate. Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood. If you eat before the test, your triglyceride levels may be higher than if you had fasted.
- cholesterol and glucose levels may also be affected by food, so fasting for a lipid profile may provide more accurate results for these measures as well.
- The results of a fasting lipid profile are generally reported as milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) of blood. Non-fasting results may be reported as mmol/L.
- Fasting is not required for a non-fasting lipid profile, so the test is generally less uncomfortable than a fasting lipid profile.
5 benefits of fasting before your lipid profile test
A lipid profile test is a blood test that measures the levels of lipids in your blood, including cholesterol and triglycerides. Fasting before a lipid profile test ensures a true picture of your lipid levels is captured. Here are 5 benefits of fasting before your lipid profile test.
A more accurate measure of your lipid levels:
Fasting for 9-12 hours overnight allows for a more accurate measure of your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which is the “bad” cholesterol you want to keep at a lower level.
You can find out if you have abnormal cholesterol levels:
This test can help identify people with abnormal cholesterol levels, which may indicate an underlying medical condition such as diabetes or hypothyroidism.
You can see how well your cholesterol-lowering medications are working:
If you are already on cholesterol-lowering medication, such as statins, fasting before your lipid profile test can show how well the medication works.
You can assess your risk of heart disease:
This test can help assess your risk of developing heart disease, a leading cause of death in the United States.
You can make lifestyle changes to improve your lipid levels:
If your lipid levels are abnormal, fasting before your lipid profile test gives you a chance to make lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, eating a healthier diet, exercising more, that can improve your lipid levels.
How to Interpret Your Fasting Lipid Profile Test Results?
A lipid profile is a blood test measuring three different lipids types:
- Total cholesterol
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
It also measures triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood. Your fasting lipid profile results can help your healthcare provider determine your risk for heart disease and stroke and total cholesterol is the combined total of HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
HDL cholesterol is often called “good” because it helps remove LDL cholesterol from the arteries. LDL cholesterol is often called “bad” because it can build up in the arteries and form plaques that block blood flow.
Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. High levels of triglycerides can also increase your risk for heart disease and stroke. Your fasting lipid profile results are given as numbers representing milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood.
If your results are outside these ranges, it does not necessarily mean you have heart disease. However, it does mean you have an increased risk of developing heart disease and stroke. If your results exceed these ranges, your healthcare provider may recommend lifestyle changes or medication to help lower your risk.
Lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking can help lower your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Certain medications such as statins can also help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you have any questions about your results, ask your healthcare provider.
There are two types of lipid profile tests: fasting and non-fasting. Fasting tests require that you fast for at least 8-9 hours before the test, while non-fasting tests do not. The difference between the two is that fasting tests may provide more accurate results, allowing for a better assessment of your true lipid levels.
However, non-fasting tests are less invasive and may be more convenient for some people. Ultimately, your doctor will decide which type of test is best for you based on your individual needs.