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Why Do I have to Fast?: July 13, 2019

Little distractions can go a long way—especially when patients are apprehensive about getting blood work. “I start asking them about where they are from, about their family, do they have family here?” said Shaka Terrell, a lab assistant with Lee Health.

Healthy patients are encouraged to get their blood checked once a year. “You will be amazed at what the blood can tell about the body,” said Terrell.

“AST/ALT that’s part of your liver. GLUC is your glucose; then there’s your phosphorous, magnesium. If they order a complete blood count, a CBC, it will tell you your white blood cells, your red blood cells,” said Raquel Ricketts, a lab assistant with Lee Health.

But if doctors are curious about your blood sugar, they may request you fast before your blood work—which means no food for 10-12 hours.  “That’s because if the doctor specifically is looking because of a medication that you are taking if you are on cholesterol medication, and you go and eat a fried egg, your cholesterol is not going to be correct. If you are a diabetic, if you’re on any kind of diabetic medication and you just had a smoothie before you came in, that’s going to elevate some levels,” explained Ricketts.

Fasting blood sugar is between 80 to 100. If a patient didn’t fast before their test, their blood sugar could be too high, causing them to need more testing. “Your doctor may ultimately be frightened and send you right to the hospital because he thinks there’s something more that’s going on than what’s really going on,” said Ricketts.

If a patient is on medication, a fasting blood test can also make sure other organs, like the liver, are working properly. Making it important to know what type of test you’re having and to follow doctor’s orders.


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