Non-fasting cholesterol blood tests have many advantages, Mora said.
"It's easier for patients, as it usually saves them from coming a second time after fasting. It's easier for physicians as well, as they can have the results faster," she said. "And it may potentially save costs, as sometimes individuals may have to repeat a blood test just for lipids if they weren't fasting the first time."
Another expert noted that non-fasting test results may also be a more reliable predictor of heart trouble.
"While most guidelines recommend obtaining a cardiovascular lipid panel after at least eight hours of fasting, many studies suggest for most individuals a non-fasting lipid panel provides similar lipid values," said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, associate director of the cardiology division at the University of California, Los Angeles. "Some analyses have even suggested that non-fasting lipid levels are more accurate for predicting the risk of cardiovascular events compared to those obtained in the fasting state."
For more information on cholesterol, visit the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: Christopher Naugler, M.D., assistant professor of clinical pathology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; Samia Mora, M.D., assistant professor of medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston; Gregg Fonarow, M.D., director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center, and associate chief, division of cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles; Nov. 12, 2012, Archives of Internal Medicine, online
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