Cholesterol is a fatty, wax-like substance which is produced by the body naturally. Like other enzymes and hormones that enable the body to carry out its various functions, cholesterol is also essential. The human body uses cholesterol to produce hormones, Vitamins (Vitamin D), and other enzymes such as bile which aids in digestion.
The Human body can generate sufficient cholesterol required by it. Many types of food consist of cholesterol as well. Animal food products such as meat, milk, cheese, eggs, fried and baked food, and sweets have high cholesterol. It is necessary to exercise moderation when eating such foods, or it can lead to high cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol can combine with other substances in the blood, forming a sticky substance called plaque. This plaque gets deposited within coronary arteries, obstructing blood flow to the heart.
One can have high cholesterol because of reasons such as:
- Unhealthy dietary habits– Consuming food high in cholesterol frequently can lead to excessive blood cholesterol levels. Food containing saturated fats like animal products and too many sweets can increase LDL(Low-Density Lipoprotein) or bad cholesterol.
- Being a sloth: Little or complete absence of physical activity affects your health adversely. Too much sitting can reduce HDL(High-Density Lipoprotein) in the body.
- Heavy Smoking: Too much alcohol and smoking cigarettes lessen HDL(High-Density Lipoproteins) levels in the human body.
- Age: One is more likely to be at the risk of having high cholesterol levels at an older age. High cholesterol levels are rare in children, teenagers, and young adults.
- Overweight: Being overweight or obese can be the reason for too high cholesterol levels.
- Genes inherited: A family may have a history of high Cholesterol levels among its members. The same genes can be inherited by one.
The harmful effect of high LDL (bad cholesterol)
High Cholesterol levels will lead to plaque which can partially or fully block the fresh blood supply to the heart, brain, limbs, or other parts of the body and can lead to stroke, angina, artery disease, and others.
How do discover excessive levels of cholesterol?
Being informed about cholesterol levels is a wise step towards good health. There are generally no signs or symptoms of high cholesterol within the body. Only with a cholesterol test can one get a clear picture of it. It’s ideal for children and young adults to get a cholesterol test every four to five years. Adults above forty-five should get it done every two years.
Is Fasting required for a Cholesterol Test?
A Cholesterol test or Lipid test requires drawing blood from the body. Often medical doctors advocate for fasting for about eight to twelve hours before a Cholesterol blood test as the sort of meal taken in can affect blood cholesterol levels as a consequence of which the results may be faulty. Patients are sometimes required to reschedule their cholesterol test if they have not fasted for the said period. Many prefer to get their cholesterol blood test done early in the morning to avoid waiting with an empty stomach for hours.
But new international guidelines suggest it is not necessary to fast before getting a cholesterol test. Fasting overnight may sound simple but is not a plausible option for all. It may be harmful to people on certain medications, low blood sugar levels, diabetes, and other issues.
Fasting for long before a cholesterol blood test is non-essential if a patient is not on a statin or other cholesterol medication that lowers the blood cholesterol level, thus making Fasting necessary before a cholesterol test. Intake of foods high in cholesterol, such as fries, burgers, and others, will require undergoing a fasting period before a cholesterol test as fat and triglyceride levels will increase dramatically after such a meal. One can eat easy-to-digest food.
Non-fasting levels are said to be better. On digestion of food, cholesterol and fat levels in a body shoot up and fall after some time. If this does not happen, then the metabolism is poor. In Fasting, this phenomenon will not get detected.
There isn’t any radical difference between the results of the cholesterol tests carried out with or without Fasting. One will still get the required results.
Procedure for the test:
A vein in the arm is punctured to collect a blood sample for the test. It takes no more than a few minutes. After the sample is collected, the punctured area is cleaned and bandaged. There is no risk involved in the process.
mg/dL is the meter used to measure cholesterol levels. The overall cholesterol level of a body should be within 200 mg/dL.
Keeping your cholesterol levels in check is crucial for health. It is ideal to undergo a cholesterol test from time to time. Certain lifestyle habits can help to keep cholesterol in check. Fasting is not necessary before a cholesterol test but consulting a doctor is paramount. A doctor might suggest Fasting before a test for various reasons.