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.