Individuals receiving a cholesterol test should consult their providers before they attend their appointment for a cholesterol test, which is also called a lipid profile.1,2 In the past, patients were often advised by their providers to fast before their cholesterol test in order to improve the accuracy of the results. However, current clinical practice guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association state that only a small population of patients may benefit from a fasting lipid profile.3 Findings from a nationally representative survey of 16,161 adults showed that the differences between the prognostic values for fasting and non-fasting low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), triglycerides, and total cholesterol (TC) were clinically insignificant in determining mortality for cardiovascular disease (CVD).4
A fasting lipid profile could help providers obtain a more accurate depiction of baseline lipid levels in certain individuals with hyperlipidemia who have initiated a statin,4,5 and those with a family history of hyperlipidemia or CVD, but fasting is not required to receive a cholesterol test.6,7
- American Heart Association. How to get your cholesterol tested. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/how-to-get-your-cholesterol-tested. Published March 22, 2019. Accessed September 12, 2020.
- National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute. Blood tests. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-tests. Published 2019. Accessed September 12, 2020.
- Grundy SM, Stone NJ, Bailey AL, et al. 2018 AHA/ACC/AACVPR/AAPA/ABC/ACPM/ADA/AGS/APhA/ASPC/NLA/PCNA guideline on the management of blood cholesterol. Circulation. 2018:CIR0000000000000625.
- Doran B, Guo Y, Xu J, et al. Prognostic value of fasting versus nonfasting low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels on long-term mortality: Insight from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES-III). Circulation. 2014;130(7):546-553.
- Langsted A, Freiberg J, Nordestgaard B. Fasting versus non-fasting lipid levels: influence of normal food intake on lipids, lipoproteins, and apolipoprotiens. Circulation (Supplemental Data). 2008; 118(20):2047-2056.
- Brunzell JD, Albers JJ, Chait A, Grundy SM, Groszek E, McDonald GB. Plasma lipoproteins in familial combined hyperlipidemia and monogenic familial hypertriglyceridemia. J Lipid Res. 1983;24(2):147-155.
- Sniderman AD, Tremblay A, De Graaf J, Couture P. Phenotypes of hypertriglyceridemia caused by excess very-low-density lipoprotein. J Clin Lipidol. 2012;6(5):427-433.