Can I Test My Cholesterol At Home?
Did you know that you can have your cholesterol levels checked at home? Home cholesterol test kits are available and can be used between appointments with your health care provider.
Read on to find out if using a home cholesterol test kit is right for you.
First, what is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in the blood. There is a good kind of cholesterol called high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and a bad cholesterol called low-density lipoprotein (LDL). HDL helps protect the heart. LDL builds up in the walls of the arteries, blocking blood flow and increasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. High triglyceride levels can also increase the risk of stroke.
How is a home cholesterol test performed?
Some home cholesterol tests measure total cholesterol, while others measure total cholesterol plus HDL, LDL and triglyceride levels. Be sure to read the label carefully to know exactly what your kit will measure.
You can purchase cholesterol test kits with or without a meter. Here is how they work.
- Cholesterol kits do not come with a meter. Cholesterol kits come with test strips and syringes. The insulin is a small, thin blade or needle. It is used to prick your finger and draw a drop of blood. This drop of blood is placed on the test strip, which changes color after a minute. After a minute or two, the test strip will change color. Compare the color of the test strip with the color guide provided in the kit. It will tell you your cholesterol level.
- Cholesterol kits come with a measuring device. The latest cholesterol kits have an electronic meter that is very similar to the blood glucose meter used to treat diabetes. Instead of waiting for the test strips to change color, you insert them into the meter to measure your cholesterol. These kits are more expensive than those that contain only strips of paper.
- Kits sent by mail. Some kits come with a prepaid envelope, such as the American Diabetes Association’s CheckUp America Cholesterol Panel. you take a blood sample at home and send it to the lab. The lab provides results by phone or through a secure website. the CheckUp America kits cost about $40.
What are the benefits?
The Home Cholesterol Test Kit is a quick and easy way to measure your cholesterol in the comfort of your own home. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that home kits are as accurate as a doctor’s test. However, accuracy varies by brand.
While some health care providers no longer require patients to fast for eight hours or more before a cholesterol test, many still require it. Depending on the kit, you may not have to fast at all.
What are the drawbacks?
While home test kits have several advantages, they also have disadvantages.
- Limited measurements. Many kits only measure your overall cholesterol levels. This information is not enough to assess your heart health. Your total cholesterol may be normal, but your LDL or bad cholesterol may still be high. To accurately assess your heart health, look for a kit that checks your LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels.
- Difficult to read. If you are not using a kit with an electronic meter, you may have difficulty reading the color of the test strips. This will make it more difficult to interpret the test results.
- Lack of medical evaluation. A home health kit is not a substitute for the advice of your health care provider. Only your doctor can take into account factors such as your weight, diet, exercise, blood pressure and whether or not you smoke. If your cholesterol is high, this will help your doctor determine the best course of treatment for you.
What is a home cholesterol test kit?
A home cholesterol test kit is a convenient and effective way to test your cholesterol levels. It allows you to monitor your cholesterol levels without having to see a doctor. And, instead of waiting days or weeks for cholesterol test results, a cholesterol test kit can provide you with results in minutes.
How do I use the cholesterol test kit at home?
You can purchase a home cholesterol test kit at your local pharmacy or medical supply store. They usually cost less than $20. A standard cholesterol test kit contains a clip for taking blood and test strips.
To use a home cholesterol test kit, you must first prick your finger with a syringe. The blood is then dripped onto the test strip. The cholesterol test strips contain special chemicals that change color after a few minutes. The final color is then compared to the color guide included in the kit. This color will tell you how much cholesterol is in your blood drop.
Some of the newer home cholesterol test kits come with an electronic meter. This meter works in the same way as a blood glucose meter used to treat diabetes. A test strip is inserted into the electronic device, and a small computer automatically measures the amount of cholesterol. Electronic cholesterol measurement kits for home use are more expensive than the paper strip method. However, electronic measurement kits are useful if you want to check your cholesterol levels more frequently.
What do the results of a home cholesterol test kit mean?
Your cholesterol level is part of the equation that your doctor uses to determine your risk of heart attack and stroke over the next 10 years. Other components include race, gender, age, HDL (good) cholesterol level and blood pressure. In addition, the equation takes into account whether you take blood pressure medications, whether you have diabetes, and whether you smoke.
Once you know your risk, you and your doctor can work to reduce the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. In addition to healthy lifestyle and diet changes, you may need a medication called a statin to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in your blood by 20-60%.
The results of a cholesterol kit test are only an estimate of your cholesterol levels. While this test is usually as accurate as the test used by your health care provider, this home test is not a substitute for your health care provider’s evaluation.
Are the results of the home cholesterol test kit reliable?
The reliability of the home cholesterol test is variable and the results may fluctuate. This depends on the manufacturer of the kit. Many home cholesterol test kits report that they are more than 95% accurate. However, these results should be considered approximate and should not replace a cholesterol test performed by your health care provider.
In addition, even if you consistently get normal results using the test strips in your cholesterol testing kit, it is important to consult your healthcare provider. To determine your risk for heart disease, your healthcare provider will evaluate your cholesterol level as well as other factors such as your weight, physical examination results, medical history and family history. In addition to cholesterol screening, your health care provider may also do other tests.
Are cholesterol test kits regulated by the FDA?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates certain home cholesterol test kits; there are also home HDL cholesterol and triglyceride test kits. However, not all cholesterol test kits available for purchase meet the FDA’s strict regulations.
If you are not sure which cholesterol test kit to buy, the FDA has created a database of OTC products. You can find it on the FDA’s website. This database is a great resource for searching for FDA-approved cholesterol test kits. You can also use it to find other types of home testing kits.