Whether you want to keep an eye on your numbers yourself so you insurance company doesn’t know them or you simply want to keep a check on your progress between doctor visits, a home cholesterol test kit can really make a difference for you.
Requiring only a drop or two of blood and no doctor’s visit, a home cholesterol test kit is easy to use, but are they really accurate? By most accounts, they provide good information when used correctly by educated patients.
Experts agree that while a home cholesterol test kit is not a substitute for professional medical advice, it can be a useful tool in lowering dangerous cholesterol levels, one of many risk factors for coronary disease. My favorite is the PRIMA Cholesterol and Triglycerides 2-in-1 Test Meter Kit— available from Amazon.
All of these devices are not the same, however. Some only measure total levels while a few break down results into HDL, LDL and triglycerides, allowing users to be fully informed about how much of each type of fat is found in their blood.
While most major medical associations and heart disease prevention organizations have not taken an official position on these products intended to allow users to monitor their own levels, most support monitoring blood fat levels.
These numbers can vary widely depending on what kind of test is used, whether a patient fasted before the measurement was taken and other factors that cannot be controlled during either home or office testing. While that means that a home cholesterol test kit may not always get the same results as a doctor’s visit, each visit to a health care professional may result in different numbers too.
Many medical professionals suggest that patients avoid becoming obsessed or preoccupied with frequently checking any aspect of their health status, but they also admit that frequent checking does no physical harm.
Doctors also caution that blood fat levels are only one risk factor for heart disease. Patients should also consider their other risk factors like smoking, obesity and family history when assessing their risk for heart disease. For understanding these complex factors, there is no substitute for a medical advice.
Still, a home cholesterol test kit can help someone who is concerned that his or her level might be high determine if a problem exists and decide whether a visit to a clinic is necessary. These self-tests can also be useful for people who already know their status to determine if their corrective efforts are working. Because the numbers can vary based on a variety of factors, however, several tests may be needed for confirmation.
When used correctly by people who have a full understanding of heart health issues and risk factors, a home cholesterol test kit can be a useful tool that provides valuable health information without the need for a doctor’s visit.