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Fasting Blood Work

Updated on June 8, 2014

What Does Fasting Actually Mean?

If you need to get fasting blood work done at the lab you should first be aware what "fasting" actually means. If your doctor has ordered a fasting blood test, you should not have anything to eat or drink for 12 hours before the blood test. Some examples of fasting blood tests are fasting glucose, fasting triglycerides, fasting lipids and glucose tolerance. For example if you are having cholesterol blood work you should fast for 12 hours. This means no food coffee, tea or gum. You could have a little bit of water and you could take medication if needed. These are what doctors frequently orders for an annual checkup.

Don't Lie About It

The 12 hour fasting is the criteria for achieving the most accurate levels of the cholesterol in your body. If you lie about the fasting part when you are asked at the lab technicians if you were fasting, you could end up on a medication such as Lipitor and others like these medications for patients with high cholesterol, or you could end up getting re-tested. Quite often people think that you just shouldn't eat after midnight. This is often confused with having surgery. For surgery you can't eat after midnight. Although, it can be hard to fast it is important to follow the rules for fasting.

Glucose, Cholesterol and Lipids

If you just have glucose fasting blood work and not cholesterol then 8-10 hours is suffice. The glucose test will determine if you are a diabetic or borderline diabetic. Most, of the time you would be sleeping so it is not that difficult. Generally, the tests that require fasting are lipids-cholesterol and/or fasting glucose. These rules will ensure that your lab results will be the most accurate.

Have Courage!

Lastly, but not least don’t be afraid because it will be over quick and it is a very small of blood that is taken. These are trained professionals who do this every single day, sometimes they perform over 100 hundred venipunctures a day. Sometimes the anxiety build up is actually worse than the needle. So be brave!


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