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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Does starvation have any effect on blood test results?

I was supposed to go for a wellness checkup blood work to check cholesterol, glucose and thyroid function. I had the stomach virus for a few days and ate toast and tea until yesterday. If I could go blood work tomorrow, will the lack of food have an affect on the results?
Mon, 14 Aug 2017
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General & Family Physician 's  Response
Hello dear,
I read your query.

The lab parameter that you have mentioned, that is glucose, is highly influenced by starvation and fasting.

Now, starvation and fasting are two completely different terms. Starvation would mean being in an empty stomach for more than 24 hours. Fasting would mean not taking anything by mouth for 10-12 hours. In your case, since you have been on toast and tea, so you are neither in fasting nor in starvation state. However, your blood glucose concentration may show a decreased value since the food intake has gone down.

Blood cholesterol values are affected by food ingestion, though the triglycerides are the lipids which are mainly affected by fasting.

Thyroid test are generally done at any time of the day, though some clinicians recommend getting it done in the fasting state.

So, in your case, since your food intake is already minimal, I would as a physician advice you to get the thyroid, cholesterol and glucose level tested in an absolute fasting state to avoid any false result. You may even talk to the consultant Biochemist of the concerned lab for further advice.

Thank you for the query.
Do keep me posted.
Dr. Pallavi Jain
MBBS,MD Biochemistry
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