Self-monitoring your cholesterol levels: How Do You Check Your Cholesterol At Home?
For a condition that is becoming more common than diabetes, there are very few people who are aware that to monitor your cholesterol, you don’t have to trundle down to your physician and prick a needle up your elbow and pay them the diagnostic fee. There are home cholesterol kits that can be bought off through online purchase and they are fairly easy to use too.
This is very useful especially if you got too bored to head down to the clinic again and to check it once a month even though physician says once every six months is fine. You can look up online for home cholesterol tests and they are fairly accurate with around 95% accuracy. At least you can take the guesswork out of it and saves some money too.
They are all pretty similar in function also. A lot like the tiny diabetes kits that most people use with the test strip and all. But there are a few tiny differences that can not only make life easier for you but also ensure that you get an accurate reading.
Top Home Cholesterol Test Kit 2017
|CardioChek Cholesterol Test Kit||User friendly for home use||Check Price|
|PRIMA 2 in 1 Home Test/Meter Kit||Includes a carrying kit||Check Price|
|Complete Lipid Panel LDL, HDL and Triglycerides Test Kit||Sample send to lab||Check Price|
What to look for while buying a home cholesterol self test kit?
Like said before, most of them work in a very similar fashion. But here are a few things that you should consider before buying one of these.
- Can it measure HDL, LDL and Triglycerides: A lot of the home cholesterol kits only measure Total Cholesterol which is a combination of your HDL and LDL. Some also measure Triglycerides in addition to total cholesterol and then there’s a third variety that measures all these values separately. If you are all hung-up on getting the individual values, then look for a kit that measures it.
- The ease of use: The way to use one of these at home cholesterol tests is to use a lance to prick yourself and get some blood from your fingers and apply it on the test strip. There are different types of strips too. Some just change color and some require more blood than the others. Also, some take more time to give you the results. It all depends on how comfortable you are with using them.
- The refills: You will need to refill those test strips. So ideally look for a cholesterol meter with fairly inexpensive refills. If you have multiple people at home who need to test their cholesterol, then this is definitely something to consider.
That’s what you need to consider before buying one of these cholesterol monitor kits. There are a few kits that are sold as FDA approved. The fact is that all home cholesterol test monitor are FDA cleared thus you may not need to consider that as a factor to consider while buying a home cholesterol kit.
1. CardioCheck Cholesterol Test Kit
CardioChek is one of the most popular at home cholesterol test kits in the market. It is a palm sized glucometer-styled device that comes with a set of CardioChek cholesterol test strips for different type of tests, a Memo chip that needs to be inserted before you run the test, lancets, capillaries to collect the blood and batteries to power the device.
Ease of use: Cardio Check is pretty easy to use. It comes with a detailed instruction manual. The only tricky part is to figure out how to insert the Memo Chip. If you figure that out, you should have no problem getting this to work. The Memo Chip itself has a visible finger notch. Ensure that this side remains up when you insert it into the tiny port on top of the analyzer device.
Collecting blood: The CardioChek meter does require at least four drops of blood for the strips to work accurately. It may take three to four attempts to get it to work with the analyzer. As compared to some of the other kits, this takes maybe a drop or two more.
What is measured: This cholesterol self test kit analyzer measures your total cholesterol, your HDL levels and the triglycerides. There are three sets of strips to measure each value and you have to use the appropriate strip to get the correct value. This is pretty comprehensive and usually use this is the formula to get the missing LDL value. LDL Cholesterol = Total Cholesterol – HDL X 0.2
Accuracy: The accuracy of this meter can be certain as almost 95% accurate.
Is this the best home cholesterol test kit?
It would be fair to say that CardioChek is one of the most accurate and user-friendly home cholesterol kits. The possible trade offs are that it runs on AAA batteries which get exhausted pretty fast. Also, the refills are slightly more expensive than those of the next kit that in this list.
2. PRIMA Cholesterol and Triglycerides 2 in 1 Home Test Kit FDA Approved
As said before, Cholesterol kits were approved for home use by the FDA in 1993. Since then, they have no say in it. So, you can ignore that part of the name.
The Prima home test triglycerides test kit is almost identical to CardioChek in its working. There are however a few tiny differences that can let you decide which one to choose.
Ease of use: The Prima home triglyceride test product is a standard home cholesterol measuring kit. It comes with the lancets, a capillary for collecting blood and a set of strips that can be used to measure the results. The Prima home test kit analyzer is compact and the package also includes a carrying kit. So, if you’d like to take this with you for your holidays to ensure that you don’t overindulge, then this kit may be a good addition.
Collecting Blood: Once again, pretty standard here. However, some have noticed that it need less blood when analyze the results using Prima. Not a huge difference from CardioChek but a small difference is definitely there. This doesn’t really matter because once you use the lancet, a few drops will ooze out anyway.
What is measured: The Prima home test triglycerides test kit measures only the total cholesterol and the triglycerides. It does not measure your HDL level. So, if you are looking for more detailed values like the HDL and the LDL, go for the CardioChek.
Accuracy: Prima home cholesterol testing kit is almost 90-95% accurate.
Is this the best home cholesterol testing kit?
The Prime cholesterol kit is a good quality home testing unit that is let down a tad due to the lack of the HDL and LDL (which can be derived using a formula) values. Its main advantage over the CardioChek is that it is powered by Lithium CR3032 batteries that last significantly longer.
3. FDA Certified Complete Lipid Panel LDL, HDL and Triglycerides Test Kit
The last pick is not the typical strip based home testing unit that gives you instant results but measures limited values. This is the Home Cholesterol testing kit that gives you a complete Lipid panel report in about a week’s time from an FDA certified laboratory.
Are you guessing how that works? The package includes a blood collection card and a postage paid envelope. You collect your blood, apply it on the blood collection card, dry it and put it in the envelope and post it to the lab. The lab then sends you a full Lipid Panel report in a week’s time.
Ease of use: This is easier to use as compared to the other two kits in this list because you don’t have to bother with the Memochip and the color changing strips. All that you need to do is get a few drops of blood out and put it on the card.
Blood collection: The package includes two lancets. Some user found it pretty easy to collect the four drops of blood needed to get this to work. However, if you have really thick blood, then you may find it a tad difficult. The amount of blood needed is on par with what was required for the CardioCheck kit.
What is measured: The Home Cholesterol Kit will give you a complete Lipid Panel report that will cost at least $250 at your healthcare clinic. If you consider the value, this is a great choice. The only caveat is that you have to wait a week for the results to show up in the mail.
Accuracy: The blood is tested in a lab. So we can assume it is 100% accurate. You may feel tad skeptical about this since it involves mailing your blood sample out of state. Also wonder if the blood would get contaminated.
Is this the best home cholesterol kit?
This home cholesterol kit is a single use kit that gives you a comprehensive lipid panel report. If you are not looking for just a total cholesterol or triglyceride value, then go for this.
Significant Value For Having Cholesterol Testing Kit At Home
Back when were kids, whole eggs were a dietary staple and we would eat up to six a day, somedays more than that, without the slightest worry in the world. We’d also enjoy our greasy steaks and cream-rich whole milk. In those days, the word cholesterol was mostly unheard of. The only time it would pop out of someone’s mouth was in a hushed discussion with the physician behind screens, or when it would be occasionally mentioned in a textbook.
A few decades later, it has become the buzzword in health circles. Anyone with even the remotest chances of a cardiac condition goes all guns blazing on cholesterol. That prompted more people to dig slightly deeper in the hope of understanding this molecule that is being looked upon as the bête noir of the human race.
And contrary to what most people thought, there’s so much of contradictory information out there. Some studies say that LDL and HDL levels negate each other off. So, if you’ve got good cholesterol levels that equal bad cholesterol, you are safe to live for the next few years enjoying your ale and an occasional grease bomb.
Then there’s the other study that says that, ‘Hey, you got that wrong. HDL is not going to save your ass’. And then there’s another one that says that it’s the size of the LDL molecule that matters. Apparently, there’s large sized ones and small sized ones.
Ok. Point noted. What we could understand from all this, is that you’ve got to gain your own healthy life and monitor your cholesterol levels as frequently as you can humanly do. That’s the only way to know if you are pushing it too far and whether it’s time for changes in your everyday pill collection.
Despite its limitations, there are some very good reasons to use a home test for cholesterol. Perhaps you have an elderly parent who will not leave home to go to the doctor. Or maybe you don’t have medical insurance and can’t get a doctor to accept you without it. In one case, a man used his home cholesterol testing kit to test his whole family in order to convince them to go for a more extensive cholesterol screening.
The best thing about at home cholesterol test can do for you is giving you a reason to improve your health by exercising, eating better, stopping bad habits, and/or going to the doctor to have your cholesterol tested more extensively. If it at least encourages you to improve your cholesterol numbers, it will have been worth what you spent on it.
Nevertheless, if you feel some doubt with the result or maybe border result, every home cholesterol test done with a cholesterol testing kit should be repeated in the hospital for double confirmation. So that if your home test results are wrong, you will know it before you undergo any form of cholesterol lowering treatment. Taking into account certain result’s fluctuations while using home cholesterol level test kit, you should consult your doctor and have the test re-done before taking further action.
How long do you have to fast to get your cholesterol checked
Remember that you need to fast for at least 8 hours before you test your blood. So, it is recommended that you do it first thing in the morning. That’s way better than heading out to the lab without your morning shot of espresso. Also, don’t forget to sterilize the lancets before and after you use it.