Many overweight and obese adults have high cholesterol. A combination of a sedentary lifestyle and diet can contribute to both obesity and high cholesterol. As a result, those seeking gastric sleeve, gastric bypass, or lap band surgery will likely have had or will take a cholesterol test in the future. High cholesterol is not limited to overweight or obese individuals, many normal weight adults have high cholesterol also. High cholesterol has no overt symptoms, the only way to know if you have high cholesterol is through a blood test.
In order to get the most accurate results from blood tests, like a cholesterol test, patients should follow the best practices for each test. So, what’s the best practice for cholesterol tests? Is it OK to eat before your test or should you fast?
What is a cholesterol test?
A cholesterol test measures the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance in the body’s cells that comes from food but is also made inside the body. Cholesterol is needed to for the body to produce vitamin D, some hormones, and some enzymes that help with digestion. The cholesterol test, or lipid panel as it’s also called, measures several different types of cholesterol including: total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides.
What do the results mean?
Doctors look at the results to see if the amounts of cholesterol in a person’s blood is at healthy levels. High cholesterol levels in the blood can contribute to forming plaques which can clog arteries and also contributes to angina, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Knowing your numbers can help you reduce your risk of these conditions.
With the results of a cholesterol test being so important, we can understand why doctors and your bariatric surgeon want the numbers to be accurate.
Should you fast before your cholesterol test?
It is standard practice to fast for 9-12 hours before a cholesterol test. Often, patients will refrain from eating at bedtime and go for their blood test in the morning to eliminate daytime fasting. A fasting test is especially important for high risk patients, which may include those with known high cholesterol, obese or overweight individuals, smokers, and those with a history of heart disease. For some people, such as those with type 1 diabetes and some with type 2 diabetes, a nonfasting cholesterol test might be recommended. The best advice is to follow your doctor’s orders for whether you take your test fasting or if you can eat.
Adults with obesity who are struggling with weight loss should consult a bariatric surgeon to see if gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or gastric band is right for them. Dr. Shillingford, MD, PA performs weight loss surgery at Northwest Medical Center’s Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, where is proudly serves as Medical Director. Dr. Shillingford’s weight loss surgery patients come from all over Florida, including West Palm Beach, Parkland, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville. He performs Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, gastric band, revisional surgery, as well as general surgeries including hernia surgery and gallbladder surgery. Call for your appointment today (561) 483-8840.