Fasting for Blood Work

Different blood tests have a different baseline of fasting. Let's read further and find out what is the ideal period of fasting for blood work.
If you are planning to go in for blood work, it is important that your blood stream is clean before you take the blood work. Fasting is therefore important. Instructions for fasting are dependent on the reasons for going in for a blood work. For instance, if you are getting blood testing done for triglyceride or diabetes fasting is necessary.
Fasting for Triglyceride Test
If you are getting your blood tested for triglyceride levels, here are the rules for the same.
» You will have to undertake a 12 hour fast before the blood test. In some cases the fasting period can also be up to 14 hours.
» Only water is permitted during the fasting period. Coffee is NOT allowed.
» To get the exact measurements of triglycerides in your blood, it is important that you fast overnight and then take the blood test next day in the morning. This is important as anything other than water can increase the triglycerides levels in your blood.
» In case you consume any food, it is possible that triglycerides levels can be higher in your blood and your physician, will have to prescribe drugs.
» You are not supposed to consume alcohol for at least 24 hours before your blood test.
» If you do take any kind of vitamin supplements, you should not have them at least 24 hours prior. You will have to consult with your physician, if you are consuming any kind of antihistamines, antibiotics or cortisone.
Fasting for Cholesterol Blood Work
Very often people ask "how long to fast before a blood work?" You will have to consult your physician for the exact fasting period for blood work. The time frame can range anywhere from 9 to 12 hours before the blood test.
» One of the fasting requirements for blood work is that you make a note of what you have been consuming for about a week prior to your blood work.
» It is advisable to avoid red meat, eggs and any food with high cholesterol in it. This is, especially important if you are getting the blood work done for insurance.
» One of the rules for a fasting blood work, if a blood test was recommended by your doctor is that, do not make drastic changes to your diet. If you do so, your blood work report will not be accurate and the treatment meted might be inefficient.
» If you have been fasting and still your blood work report has high cholesterol level in it, it means that you are at a high risk of high cholesterol, which can give rise to heart disease, blockages and heart attacks.
» There is one line of thought, according to which fasting is not required, when one is getting the blood tests done to find out the cholesterol levels in the body. This is true only if one wants the HDL cholesterol and total cholesterol readings. When the tests are carried out without fasting, then LDL cholesterol level will not be accurate.
Fasting for Glucose Test
» When you are going for blood work to measure blood sugar levels, you are required to fast for 12 hours before the blood test.
» It is always good to schedule your appointment in the morning, so that you can fast through the previous night and then go in for your blood tests in the morning.
» Make sure that you do not consume anything for 12 hours to ensure you have the right fasting period before a blood glucose test.
» When the blood tests have to be conducted to determine the glucose level in the blood, then chewing a gum, especially with sugar or any sweetener in it, is not permissible.
Fasting for Vitamin Level Blood Work
Most people are not aware, fasting is necessary, when one has to test the blood for vitamin E and/or vitamin A. Our blood is sensitive to everything that we consume. Same is the case, when one wants to get blood tests done for vitamin level as well.
» About 12 hour fasting period is necessary before the blood tests.
» If there are certain supplements, that you are taking, then you will have to stop taking them at least 24 hours before the scheduled appointment.
» Sometimes an 8 hour fasting period is also permissible. This will depend on the physician, who has recommended the tests and also for what the test is actually being conducted.
Normally drinking water is permitted during fasting, as it does not have any kind of effect on the blood tests. For some tests, one can consume black tea, however, it is best to consult your health care professional before you consume tea.
Along with all the instructions, I will recommend that you be honest to yourself and your doctor, when you take your blood test. If a 12 hour fasting is required, but you have fasted only for 8 hours as you have eaten something, it is important that you talk to the lab doctor, before you actually take the blood test.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.