Why Fasting for Blood Work is Important?
If you have ever consulted a doctor and required blood work, he may have instructed you to come tomorrow for laboratory blood test when you have not eaten overnight. Although this may look like the doctor is doing this to make your suffer, but there are medical explanation for doing this blood work after a short fasting.
There are two groups of blood work that are affected by fasting, blood sugar and lipids. To elaborate, these blood works are for LDL and HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. On daily basis, the normal range of blood sugar and lipids change from hour to hour corresponding to your recent meal and drink. By fasting, you get a baseline of sugar and lipid value that is not affected by your recent meal.
Additionally, the guidelines for the definition of prediabetic and diabetic are based on looking at standard situations. Fasting is one of those situations. An example is a fasting blood sugar greater than 125 mg/dl would make a patient diabetic. On the other hand, if that patient eat a granola bar one hour before the blood test, it might signal the doctor that he is diabetic because his blood sugar is high. A blood sugar if 125 mg/dl one hour after eating a carbohydrate is normal but the in fasting state it is not. If the patient did not confess, then the doctor would believe that he is diabetic.
Lipids adhere with the same guidelines. All values used to determine the need for treatment and high risk are still based on the fasting values for HDL and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. If a patient did not fast, the cholesterol values would elevate as much as 20 points. This could make him falsely fit into the criteria for more aggressive treatment. A key point is to stay hydrated with water even in fasting state. Many blood works can be difficult to patients who are dehydrated and water can efficiently counteract this problem.
Take note that fasting is crucial for most blood works to compare apples to apples. Through fasting, you can extract accurate information from your blood work, which contains blood sugar and lipid parameters. The get the most accurate information, do not attempt to consume a breath mint.
If you have further concerns or question regarding these blood works and what you have to do to make them accurate, then consult your doctor or physician. They will be more happy to provide you with information you require to make sure that you blood work results will truly reflect on your current health state.