Is Using Home Cholesterol Test Kits Worth Your Time And Effort?
Home cholesterol test kits are widely available and seem to be catching on with a lot of people. With this easy-to-use kit, you will know in minutes if you have a healthy cholesterol level or if you should consult your doctor.
But why would you want to use a home cholesterol test kit and mess around with drawing blood? Well the simple answer is that some people simply want to find out what their cholesterol level is so they can make an informed decision on what to do about it.
Another reason for use of these home test kits is that some people are already aware that they have high levels of cholesterol and might want to monitor their condition without having to make regular doctor’s appointments.
Yet again, some people simply like to monitor their health on a regular basis and getting frequent cholesterol tests through their doctor could be expensive. So they purchase a kit and off to D.I.Y land they go.
Whatever your purpose is, a word of advice is to consult your doctor first if you decide to invest in a home cholesterol test kit. Also keep it in perspective that home cholesterol tests cannot replace clinical cholesterol tests, neither do they offer an overall assessment of other risk factors for heart disease.
These kits are meant to be used to warn of a possible problem, not to replace medical guidance.
How Accurate Are Cholesterol Test Kits?
All in all, home test kits can be quite accurate and effective for monitoring your own levels if you study and follow the directions carefully. However, you must understand what you’re actually monitoring and how to determine good cholesterol levels.
Common Reasons For Inaccuracy
Failure to read and follow the instructions carefully is the most common cause of inaccuracy. To obtain accurate measurements, you must maintain a fast for 12 hours prior to performing the test. With the exception of plain water, eating kind of food or even drinking milk will trigger cholesterol production and give a false reading.
Pregnant women or people who are subject to extreme physical stress should not perform a cholesterol test by themselves.
Another reason for inaccuracy is the method of obtaining the blood sample. You need a clean, fresh sample which is not always easy to obtain. Results can be inaccurate if you’re not familiar with drawing your own blood or if you squeeze too hard to get the blood out.
Are Cholesterol Test Kits Worth The Trouble?
The type of kit you purchase determines the type of cholesterol that is measured. Some test kits measure only total cholesterol level. A few also measure high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and triglycerides.
Home cholesterol testing may seem fast and easy, but it's important to be cautious about the results because even cholesterol testing performed by professionals in a lab can vary significantly in results.
This variability may be even greater with home cholesterol test kits, especially if you did not fast for 12 hours before you took the test. Also, if you fall into the category of people who just want to monitor their levels on a regular basis, know that cholesterol management requires more than simply measuring total cholesterol.
HDL and LDL cholesterols together with triglycerides have to be carefully assessed. Other factors that also play a role in cholesterol monitoring and management include high blood pressure, smoking and family history.
Regardless of how convenient these home tests are, if the measurements you get suggest a potential issue with your cholesterol, then a definite appointment with your doctor will be wise.
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