How Often Should You Check Your Cholesterol

How Often Should You Check Your Cholesterol

How Often Should You Check Your Cholesterol – I should get my cholesterol checked soon. It’s a simple test, but I don’t expect it because it requires an overnight fast. And that means making a special morning trip to my doctor’s office.

To learn more about this small but very beneficial change, we spoke with Dr. I am Samia Mora, a cardiologist. He helped write the new guidelines, which were published this week in the European Heart Journal and summarized in JAMA Internal Medicine. Mora is the director of the Center for Lipid Metabolomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

How Often Should You Check Your Cholesterol

Fasting for eight to 12 hours before a cholesterol test is thought to provide more accurate estimates of total cholesterol, harmful LDL cholesterol, protective HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, a type of fat-carrying component. We know better now.

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State, so current cholesterol testing methods do not necessarily provide a clear picture of “normal” levels. Another is that fasting is a hardship for everyone involved – patients, doctors, and even laboratory workers.

This change has been in the works for some time. This is based on data from a dozen plus studies involving more than 300,000 people whose cholesterol and other lipids were measured while fasting. Their level predicted the risk of heart disease, as well, or better than the level of fasting lipids.

After you eat, your digestive system converts some of the carbohydrates and fats into triglycerides. Their level in the blood vessels increases, and gradually decreases. If the triglyceride level is too high, it is a sign that the body has a problem with metabolism. Think of eating as a stress test for your metabolism. That’s something you don’t see if you’ve been fasting.

Everyone wins with this change. People do not like to fast all night. It is difficult for some people to do this, some people are even excluded from it, such as people who faint because of fasting and people with diabetes who take medicine to reduce the sugar in the blood. The new recommendation means you can have your blood drawn at a time that suits you, rather than in the morning.

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It may even mean one-stop shopping — you can get your blood drawn and then see the doctor, all in one visit. It’s easier for doctors, who don’t need to monitor their own laboratory visits. Eliminating fasting will also benefit the lab, as they won’t have to deal with the daily annoyance of patients first thing in the morning needing blood drawn for cholesterol testing.

Eating a double cheeseburger, fries, and milk shake before having your blood drawn for a cholesterol test can lead to a subsequent fast if your triglycerides are high. But eating a normal diet does not affect your lipid levels, including triglycerides.

Health care providers often do what they are used to, so it may take some time to switch to non-fasting cholesterol testing. But we also need to realize that there are benefits to this evidence-based change. Switching to non-fasting cholesterol testing is the path of least resistance for both patients and physicians. It also provides a more accurate lipid profile for each patient.

I believe that getting the word out to doctors, lab directors, and patients is enough to get a fasting cholesterol test done in no time.

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Patrick Skerrett is the editor of First Opinion, STAT’s platform for great written life science views and opinions, and the host of the First Opinion Podcast.

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A lifetime of high cholesterol can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, and new scientific guidelines suggest that managing this wax-like fat in the This blood should be a concern for all age groups.

, is designed to help healthcare providers prevent, diagnose and treat high cholesterol. A panel of 24 health and science experts from the American Association and 11 other health organizations wrote science-based recommendations for people with special conditions and at risk.

“The evidence is overwhelming,” said Dr. Scott M. Grundy, chairman of the guideline writing committee and professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. “Actually, no one is saying cholesterol isn’t important. The world now understands – it’s important.”

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Nearly one in three American adults has high levels of LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol that contributes to the buildup of fat and narrowing of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis. Global and US studies have suggested that the ideal level is less than 100 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) for otherwise healthy people, and research studies have shown that people at risk of developing The disease is less likely to develop infections and strokes when given medication. low LDL levels.

“LDL cholesterol particles are the central molecule involved in the biology of this disease,” said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, a member of the writing committee and chair of the department of preventive medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. “It’s important to understand the life course and context of other risk factors that occur.”

Along with risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure and high blood sugar, the guidelines also recommend looking at “risk factors” such as family history and medical conditions. other to provide a better view of an individual’s short-term risk. the next 10 years.

The guidelines advise doctors to use calculators to provide a detailed estimate of a person’s 10-year risk and help create a personalized plan. For most patients who cannot control the condition with diet and exercise, cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins can be used. For high-risk patients, including those who already have heart disease, stroke or high cholesterol caused by genetic conditions, additional medications called ezetimibe and PCSK9 inhibitors.

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“The truth about clinical medicine is that it’s not black and white. It’s all gray,” says Lloyd-Jones, a gynecologist. “That’s why the emphasis of this document is to make sure that patients and doctors have a good discussion about the benefits and risks of drug treatment. from ‘the statin. When someone has not taken action, that’s when the decision is more difficult and a detailed and specific discussion is very important.”

For people 40 to 75 years old with no apparent disease, the guidelines use four classifications of risk: low, borderline, moderate and high.

When a patient is in the middle, and sometimes on the border, the guidelines recommend that the doctor has a thorough discussion with the patient about the benefits of statin drugs, taking into account all risk factors. If there is still uncertainty about statin use, doctors may consider more tests called coronary artery calcium, or CAC, screening. The CAC score is calculated based on a CT scan and determination of the amount of calcium plaque in the arteries.

For young adults between 20 and 39, the guidelines emphasize a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a healthy diet and weight, and regular exercise, Grundy said.

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Due to the lack of long-term research for this young age group, statin recommendations are reserved for those at higher risk.

But Grundy said that this does not mean that these patients should be ignored, because young people with risk factors such as high cholesterol often already show the first stages of atherosclerosis.

“We think doctors should pay more attention to young people,” said Grundy, who heads the metabolic group at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dallas. “If their cholesterol is high, they should try to eat the right kind of food, lose weight. … They may not need a statin, but they really need attention.”

Because of the life-long side effects

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