Updated: Oct 14, 2016
Cholesterol Test Reviews:
- What is a home cholesterol test?
- Benefits of taking a cholesterol test
- How much do cholesterol tests cost? Which should I buy?
With the recent Health Care Reform from the Obama administration it made me think about getting my cholesterol checked. A few years back when I got a life insurance policy it was rather high (close to 275) and I had it rechecked a few months afterwards and it was back down to 200. It's been about 3 years since my last cholesterol test and the whole health care conversation in the newspapers got me thinking about what my current cholesterol levels might be.
In the past I had just gone down to the doctors office for a quick visit to let them take blood and then submit it to the lab for processing. It usually took a few days to get the results back and I paid a diagnostic fee plus the nurse visit. Just recenlty I had heard about home cholesterol tests where you were able to do a small blood sample at home (put it on a test paper) and get your results almost instantly.
Some even have a test strip that gets mailed to a lab for more official results. I was a little hesistant since the lab was out of state and for the fact that you mail in your cholesterol sample. It seemed less than foolproof and I wondered if the results would be accurate.
The video below shows how to use a home cholesterol test and get your results:
What to look for in a home cholesterol test?
Home cholesterol test kits are available online at websites like Amazon or Drugstore.com. You can find them in the pharmacy section of your local grocery store or in RiteAid's and even at Target. The real question is all about home cholesterol test accuracy - we read reports that they are 95% accurate.
Some consumer reviews note that the home cholesterol check showed up either a touch higher or lower than their professional results done at a lab. The big drawback to many of the cholesterol test kits that you can use at home are that they don't measure anything but total cholesterol levels. Most lab diagnostics will tell you total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
Also, you need to fast 9 to 12 hours before the test and many people either forget or disregard this key component for a reliable reading. Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D. (from Mayoclinic.com website) points out that having a doctor there when the results come back is a great way to discuss the ramifications of perhaps having a high level of cholesterol. Many people don't know what levels are dangerous for them when you factor in health conditions and family history.
Buying a home cholesterol monitor is not a bad idea, but most professional doctors and experts in this field mention that a followup visit with a doctor to talk about the test results is just as important. Almost all the tests we found are FDA approved, but again accuracy is something that comes down to proper testing conditions and setup. Which home test is right for you?
The test strips are probably the cheapest way to go - you simple prick your finger and put a drop of blood on the strip. Chemicals react with the blood to determine your cholesterol - takes about 10 minutes. Others like the CardioChek Portable Blood Test System cost closer to $120 and is a handheld cholesterol reading monitor. Reviews are not very good for this expensive device as results vary too much say owners. Also, you need to buy test strips that are roughly $30 for 3.
Overall, I think more Americans should know their cholesterol levels and stay as healthy as possible. It's not like you need to get your cholesterol checked every few months (for most of us), so periodically getting the tests done at a professional lab is still the best way to go. As far as your curiosity goes, a home test may be the easiest way to get quick results. RECOMMENDED - You can browse the top selling home cholesterol tests online here
Cholesterol Home Test:
The one name that comes up most often for home cholesterol tests is CardioChek. They have the more scientific looking devices that sell for over $100 and promise clinically accurate results. Their blood analyzers do score better in tests than the less expensive paper strips without an electronic device to analyze them. The top rated CardioChek Home Blood Analyzer # 730, 1 ea is one that we found listed all over the Internet.
Not all owner reviews are positive, but it did more praise than other systems. The device uses color coded PTS PANELS test strips that get inserted into the machine and you get a readout for Total Cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, Triglycerides, Glucose and Ketone. The digital display will give you the details usually after 1 to 2 minutes of analysis. You get 2 test strips in the package along with 2 AAA batteries that it requires to run.
To check out how to use a home cholesterol test - click the image below to go to video.
Are Home Cholesterol Tests Accurate?:
We found many reports done by reliable sources like Webmd.com and the MayoClinic.com in regards to the accuracy of home cholesterol tests. There is a direct link to the WebMD file HERE or the Mayo Clinic Here. About.com has a section dedicated to cholesterol levels and how to get an accurate reading.
Even my doctor said that the home tests are just NOT reliable enough to make an informed decision. Although he did mention that the lab results I pay for are not always consistent either. He said that cholesterol readings can vary quite a bit from testing to testing even in a lab environment. If high cholesterol runs in your family and you are at risk, it's a good idea to get it checked every 6 months or so to make sure you are keeping your levels in line with what your primary physician recommends.
There are prescription drugs like Lipitor or Crestor that can help lower cholesterol - as well as including regular exercise and a healthy diet into your lifestyle. Take any results you get on a home cholesterol test in stride and use them as a guide, but not as the 100% truth. View our blood glucose monitor
More videos and resources are here on our Cholesterol Test Resource Page.
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