Hypercholesterolaemia is a chronic disease that affects up to 53% of
the global population.1 Lifestyle modification and early diagnosis
plays an important role in the management of this condition.
Various cholesterol screening tests are available, and it is generally
accepted that a fasting finger-prick cholesterol test administered
by the local pharmacist or primary healthcare provider should
not exceed a value of 4.9 mmol/l. However, these screening
tests measure the amount of total cholesterol (TC), and rarely
differentiate between the individual lipoprotein components.
Target values for the different cholesterol components have
been well established.2 Although current practice guidelines
stipulate that the patient should be in a fasting state for at least
six hours before any formal laboratory assessment necessitating
a lipogram is performed, a recent cross-sectional study involving
9 319 patients from Denmark showed a very small change in
fasting versus non-fasting levels.3 The difference after three
hours of fasting was a decrease in TC of −0.2 mmol/l, low-density
lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol of − 0.1mmol/l and −0.1 mmol/l for
high-density (HDL) lipoprotein. There was a decreased level of
0.3 mmol/l in the triglycerides after six hours, thereby justifying
the six-hour fasting rule.