On call: Measuring triglycerides

On call

Measuring triglycerides

Q. My wife's doctor always tells her to fast before he checks her cholesterol so he can measure her triglycerides, but my doctor says triglycerides don't matter. Who is right?

A. There is no short answer to your question. Your wife's doctor is certainly right when he says you must avoid eating for 12–14 hours to get an accurate triglyceride reading — but your own doctor may be right in putting less emphasis on triglycerides than on LDL ("bad") and HDL ("good") cholesterol levels, which can be determined without a strict fast.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »