Fasting And Non Fasting for Cholesterol Tests  

Cholesterol tests are generally recommended after fasting overnight at least for 9 – 12 hours to get accurate readings. This is primarily because the blood sample is tested for three different readings of lipid profile which include HDL cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.

The levels of triglycerides are higher once you take the blood sample after consuming a meal with high fat content. Studies show that triglyceride levels taking during non-fasting tests can also be used to predict the risk of strokes and coronary diseases related to the heart. However, the normal levels of triglycerides during fasting are different from non-fasting levels and hence new standards need to be established. Also, high triglyceride levels during non-fasting are riskier for women than men. 

Once you consume a high-fat meal, the dietary fat that is absorbed in the intestine is carried in the blood by chylomicrons which cannot enter the wall of the arteries as they are too narrow for them. Over a period of 8 - 10 hours, these chylomicrons are broken down into lipoproteins which are rich in cholesterol and also triglycerides. These are termed as remnant particles. These small particles which are in excess penetrate to the arterial wall and get deposited leading the clots and obstruction of the passage. 

Hence, elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood stream increases the risk of abnormal cardio functioning resulting in strokes and heart attacks just like high levels of LDL cholesterol indicates high risk of heart related disorders. If triglycerides levels are highly abnormal when the sample is taken without fasting, individuals are a greater risk of artery blockages, strokes and death related to heart diseases.

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