DEAR DR. ROACH: My daughter is a registered nurse, and tells me that when getting blood tests, it is not necessary to fast eight to 12 hours even though my doctor says to do so. Four hours is enough, she claims. Is this true, or is my daughter trying to be a doctor, if you know what I mean? L.C.
ANSWER: I probably agree with your daughter the nurse more than I do with your doctor in this case. Most routine blood testing does not require fasting. There is controversy about whether cholesterol testing is best done fasting or not: Most recent evidence suggests that fasting is not necessary. However, many physicians still continue to use fasting levels, as that is what they are used to.
Non-fasting numbers may reflect the true state of risk to the arteries more so than fasting levels. A few seldom-ordered tests, such as insulin levels, may need to be drawn precisely a certain period of time after feeding to be able to interpret them. In most cases, your daughter is probably right that prolonged fasting is unnecessary. I still recommend following your doctor’s orders. Your daughter is providing you with up-to-date medical knowledge. Any nurse or doctor should do the same.
DEAR DR. ROACH: Is it true that all orange juice is dangerous except organic? I heard on a radio show something about food’s having been contaminated by Roundup. The man said, “It’s in our orange juice.” It was said (I think) that only organic was safe. What do you think about this orange juice issue? — J.J.V.S.
ANSWER: I read the report showing that all orange juice brands tested positive for glyphosate, a commonly used herbicide, but one that is never applied to trees, in organic or conventional farming. The levels in the report, which was not published in a peer-reviewed journal, are extremely low, 3 to 17 parts per billion.
The Environmental Protection Agency allowable level in citrus fruit is 500 parts per billion. The risk from glyphosate in orange juice is negligible. I don’t recommend large amounts of any type of fruit juice due to sugar content, which is a bigger threat than glyphosate, in my opinion. Stick to a glass a day.
DEAR DR. ROACH: A recent column commented on liquid bandages for a home first aid kit. What else should be in a home first aid kit? — K.L.
ANSWER: Depending how large a family you have, how active you are, how often you travel and what types of activities you enjoy, your ideal first aid kit might vary a bit from standard guidelines.
I found one pretty complete list from U.C San Diego at tinyurl.com/kitforfirstaid. Most of the kit is for care of minor lacerations, but there are some additional types of supplies as well. The list includes several medications: If you use those, be sure you replace them after expiration. Several well-stocked first aid kits are available for sale online, some for as little as $25.