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What’s Up Doc?

doctor consults patient

What’s Up Doc?

You may not have to fast before a blood draw after all

New research shows fasting blood tests may be unnecessary and even detrimental for diabetics. Typically, patients are told not to eat or drink for at least 8 hours before cholesterol tests. However, fasting may not be necessary, a new MSU study con?rmed.

In fact, diabetics who fast but take their medications as prescribed may experience plummeting blood sugar that may cause faintness, confusion or loss of consciousness.

When severe, this hypoglycemia may contribute to falls, auto accidents and other dangerous consequences

Dr. Saleh Aldasouqi, the study’s author, is an endocrinologist in the College of Human Medicine. He said the fasting protocol is based on 1970s guidelines.

More recent studies have concluded that eating prior to having a cholesterol test does not alter its pivotal components.

Canada and Europe have already changed their guidelines and no longer require fasting for such labs. 

“We encourage patients who receive orders for a lab test to ask their doctor if fasting is really necessary, and if so, how they should handle their diabetes medications during the fasting period to account for the changes in their blood sugar levels,” Aldasouqi said. 

U.S. guidelines have not yet become mainstream. But Aldasouqi hopes diabetes organizations will take a lead in disseminating emerging changes in lipid testing.