Benefits And Downsides Of At
It is important to consider the possible pros and cons of at-home cholesterol testing to determine if it is the right choice for you.
Some of the main benefits of at-home cholesterol tests include:
- Convenience: At-home cholesterol testing allows you to take the test according to your own schedule and without having to make an appointment or go to a medical office or laboratory.
- Fingerstick blood sample: The blood sample for at-home tests comes from pricking your fingertip with a tiny needle instead of a typical blood draw that takes a sample from a vein in your arm.
- Supplementing doctor-ordered testing: At-home testing may be useful for people who want to check their cholesterol in the time between tests ordered by their physician.
- Transparent pricing: For most at-home cholesterol tests, the total price is clearly displayed and prepaid at the outset.
- Several test options: Because multiple types of at-home tests are available, you can choose the one that best suits your preferences and budget.
Some of the potential drawbacks of at-home cholesterol testing include:
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What Is The Difference Between Primary Cvd Treatment And Secondary Treatment
Primary treatment is preventive. It is intended to help reduce your risk of having a first cardiovascular event . There are potential benefits helping to prevent CVD from developing but also potential risks/harms associated with taking statins or other lipid-lowering medications long-term. You and your healthcare practitioner need to weigh those benefits and risks.
Secondary treatment is therapy that is given when you have had a cardiovascular event or have been diagnosed with CVD. It will still likely involve statins but is intended to help prevent another CVD event.
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When Is It Ordered
Adults with no other risk factors for heart disease should be tested with a fasting lipid panel once every four to six years.
If you have risk factors or if previous testing showed that you had a high cholesterol level, more frequent testing with a full lipid panel is recommended.
Examples of risk factors other than high LDL-C include:
Children, teens, and young adults with no risk factors should have a lipid panel once between the ages of 9 and 11 and again between 17 and 21, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics .
Children, teens, and young adults with an increased risk of developing heart disease as adults should have earlier and more frequent screening with lipid panels. Some of the risk factors are similar to those in adults and include a family history of heart disease or health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or being overweight. High-risk children should be tested between 2 and 8 years old with a fasting lipid panel, according to the AAP.
Children younger than 2 years old are too young to be tested.
For additional details on this, see the screening articles for Children, Teens, Young Adults, Adults, and Adults 50 and Up.
How To Collect A Good Fingerprick Blood Sample
While dried blood spot sampling from fingerprick tests have been shown to be accurate, its important to get the best possible sample because youre providing such a small amount of blood.
This is the recommended technique to collect a fingerprick blood sample:
- Warm your hands by shaking or rubbing your hands together to help blood flow to the area
- Use the tip of your third or fourth finger
- Wipe away the first drop of blood with the gauze pad
- Allow a large drop of blood to form on your fingertip
- When youre filling the collection card, touch the drop of blood to the card not your finger and just put one large drop of blood onto each circle
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Where Can I Get Cardiac Lab Tests Or Cholesterol Testing Near Me
You can visit either LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics for your cardiac lab testing. There are over 3500 labs nationwide to choose from. If you’d like to search our locations using your zip code, please visit our LAB LOCATOR.
You can order a lipid profile and screen for cardiac risk factors in most states of the country. Find your state on the list below.
How Much Does The Test Cost
There is no standard price for a total cholesterol test. The cost depends on where you take the test as well as coverage that may be provided by your insurance.
Costs of testing can include the office visit, the fee for the technician to draw your blood, and the actual laboratory analysis. If your doctor recommends a cholesterol test, these costs are typically covered by insurance, but, depending on your plan, you may be responsible for copays or a deductible. Your doctor and insurance plan can provide more specific information about your costs for cholesterol testing.
A point-of-care cholesterol test at pharmacies or health clinics may cost around $100 or less. This kind of test may be free at community health fairs or similar events.
There is a wide price range for at-home test kits. Many models include a small device to conduct the test and cost under $150, but more expensive options are available. Kits commonly come with extra test strips that allow you to check your cholesterol more than once.
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Stay On Top Of Your Health With These At
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Healthy cholesterol levels are a key component of cardiovascular wellness. The American Heart Association recommends getting tested every four to six years beginning at age 20a blood lipid panel includes your total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein , low-density lipoprotein , and triglycerides. If you have cardiovascular disease or elevated risk, you may need more frequent testing. After age 40, your doctor would recommend testing based on your calculated risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
These regular check-ins can guide your doctor’s assessment of whether you need to make lifestyle adjustments or take medication to keep your blood cholesterol within a healthy range.
At-home testing kits can be handy for people diagnosed with high cholesterol who may want to test their blood more frequently.
While home cholesterol testing should not be used as a replacement for the comprehensive diagnostics provided by your physician, it can be an addition to a proactive health regimen.
Here are the best at-home cholesterol test kits that you can use in-between visits with your doctor.
When Should I Get A Cholesterol Test
Cholesterol testing has different uses depending on your overall health situation and can be used for screening, monitoring, or diagnosis. In general, tests to measure cholesterol typically begin as an adult, usually around 35 years old.
Health screening is a way of proactively looking for potential problems before symptoms become apparent. Cholesterol tests are often used in this way to identify people who may have an above-average risk of cardiovascular problems.
There are no consensus guidelines for when to do cholesterol screening. Based on different views of the benefits and downsides of screening, expert groups have varying recommendations for when to start screening and how frequently to do repeat tests.
In general, screening occurs less often in people who do not have risk factors for cardiovascular problems. In low-risk patients, screening with a lipid panel test may begin in their 20s, 30s, or 40s and be repeated about every five years. If results are normal, screening may continue with only measurements of total cholesterol and HDL.
People with risk factors tend to start screening at a younger age and have screening tests more frequently. Some risk factors for cardiovascular disease include:
- Being over 45 years old for men and over 50-55 for women
- High cholesterol on a previous test
- Prior cardiovascular problems
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Can I Take The Test At Home
Two main types of at-home cholesterol tests are available:
- Test kits that have you take a blood sample from your finger and send it by mail to a lab.
- Test kits that include an at-home method for analyzing the blood sample from your finger. This may be a small electronic device or a test strip that changes color to indicate cholesterol levels.
At-home tests for total cholesterol may include other cholesterol measurements, such as HDL and LDL, that are part of a typical lipid panel.
When Should I Get An At
You can consider getting an at-home test if you are curious about your blood cholesterol. This can provide information about your current cholesterol levels and may help initiate a more in-depth conversation with your doctor about heart health and wellness.
At the same time, you should not have an at-home cholesterol test if you have concerns or symptoms related to your health. In that case, you should talk with your doctor for specific guidance. Your doctor can also review the pros and cons of at-home cholesterol testing in your situation.
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Immediate Results Review With A Quest Provider:
After their specimen and biometric measurements are collected, the examiner goes through each result, indicating whether it falls inside or outside of recommended reference ranges. The examiner performing the screening is HIPAA-trained to share screening results with the participant in a confidential way. This teachable moment and immediacy of results can lead participants to a greater understanding of their own health risks, as well as more urgency to improve their results.
Can I Test My Lipids At Home
There are tests available to use at home to measure total cholesterol. You prick your finger and put blood on a piece of paper that will change color based on your cholesterol level .
There are also kits available that have you collect a blood sample at home and then mail it to a reference laboratory, which will then perform a lipid panel and send the results back to you.
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Fingerstick Or Blood Draw At Your Biometric Screening
If you have a wellness program, you should definitely have regular biometric screenings. A staple event at these screenings is a blood test to measure things like cholesterol, glucose and triglycerides. These metrics give employees a baseline to help motivate them toward healthy behaviors.
If you choose to do an onsite screening event, there are a few different ways to get a blood sample for these types of tests. You can draw blood with a fingerstick, or a venipuncture blood draw.
Its important to look at the two options carefully and decide which works best for your company. You might want to consider what your employees wanted from wellness when you sought feedback from them .
You might also want to look at the design of your wellness program. Do you use incentives? If so, do you incent these specific measurements? Employees might have concerns one way or another depending on what theyre getting rewarded for.
So whats the big difference between the methods?
Cholesterol Testing At Home: It May Be Faster But Is It Better
If you don’t mind pricking a finger, you can check your cholesterol without sitting around in a doctor’s waiting room or laboratory. Devices available in pharmacies or through the Internet make this easy to do at home. But is it worth doing?
The makers of home cholesterol tests rightly tout their products as faster than visiting a doctor. You prick your finger, gently squeeze a few drops of blood onto a test strip or into a small “well,” and you get the results in a few minutes, instead of waiting a few days.
But faster isn’t necessarily better. The results won’t give you the information you need to figure out your risk of having a heart attack or other cardiovascular problem. Nor will they help you check whether a diet and exercise program is working.
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New Cholesterol Test More Accurate Than Old Test That Requires Fasting
A newer method for calculating low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is more accurate than the older method that required people fast before blood was drawn.
A newer method for calculating low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is more accurate than the older method that required people fast before blood was drawn, according to a new study published in Circulation.
The results mean that screening for LDL cholesterol could become more convenient if routine fasting before cholesterol tests was eliminated. The researchers who created the new method found in 2013 that the old method underestimated LDL cholesterol levels, particularly for patients with high triglycerides.
The new method uses a chart with 180 different factors to more accurately calculate LDL cholesterol for the individual.
Although the new LDL calculation method is a bit more complex, the beauty is that it can be performed using information that is already collected in the blood sample for the standard lipid profile and automated in the labs computer system to give a more accurate result, Seth Martin, MD, MHS, co-director of the Advanced Lipid Disorders Center and assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and one of the creators of the new test, said in a statement. Since nonfasting samples are now accurate, its more convenient for patients because they can come in anytime and dont need to return for a second appointment if they have eaten.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know
There is increasing interest in measuring triglycerides in people who have not fasted. The reason is that a non-fasting sample may be more representative of the “usual” circulating level of triglyceride since most of the day, blood lipid levels reflect post-meal levels rather than fasting levels. However, it is not yet certain how to interpret non-fasting levels for evaluating risk, so at present there is no change in the current recommendations for fasting prior to tests for lipid levels.
A routine cardiac risk assessment typically includes a fasting lipid panel. Beyond that, research continues into the usefulness of other non-traditional markers of cardiac risk, such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein , lipoprotein A ), Lp-PLA2, LDL particle testing , apolipoprotein A-1 and apolipoprotein B. A healthcare practitioner may choose to evaluate one or more of these markers to help determine someone’s risk, but there is no consensus on their use and they are not widely available. For a more detailed discussion on these, see the article on Cardiac Risk Assessment.
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Are Test Results Accurate
Cholesterol testing is common and generally dependable as part of cardiovascular risk assessment. Like any medical testing, though, cholesterol tests are not perfect.
When properly performed, at-home cholesterol self-tests can be about as accurate as laboratory lab tests conducted with a blood draw. However, products that are poorly manufactured or that provide inadequate instructions may suffer from reductions in accuracy.
For both in-lab and at-home cholesterol measurement, certain issues can influence the accuracy of the test:
- Individual factors: Small fluctuations in cholesterol levels can be related to stress or your physical posture during the test.
- Active illness: Inflammation related to various types of illness can change cholesterol levels, affecting the short-term reliability of cholesterol measurements.
- LDL-C calculations: Standard cholesterol testing usually calculates LDL-C levels based on the other measurements. The formulas for these calculations can lead to inaccurate results in people who have very high triglyceride levels.
For any questions about the accuracy of specific at-home tests, you can ask the test provider for available documentation related to the testing method and results accuracy. Your doctor can also discuss any factors in your case that could affect cholesterol test results.
What Does The Test Result Mean
In general, healthy lipid levels help to maintain a healthy heart and lower the risk of heart attack or stroke. Your healthcare practitioner will take into consideration the results of each component of a lipid panel plus other risk factors to help determine your overall risk of coronary heart disease, whether treatment is necessary and, if so, which treatment will best help to lower your risk of heart disease.
Health organizations have different recommendations for treatment based on your predicted CVD risk.
Guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend that a risk calculator be used to determine your 10-year risk of CVD if you are age 40 to 75 and do not have heart disease. Many factors are considered in the calculation, including total cholesterol, LDL-C, HDL-C, age, gender, race, blood pressure, presence of diabetes, and smoking habit. An initial risk should be calculated and then your risk can be tracked over time with each subsequent risk calculation. Ten-year risk is categorized below:
|Calculated 10-Year Risk|
ACC and AHA recommend treatment with statins if you:
- Have heart disease
- Have LDL-C greater than 190 mg/dL
- Are age 40 to 75 years with diabetes and LDL-C 70-189 mg/dL but do not have heart disease
- Are age 40 to 75 years old and do not have diabetes or heart disease but have LDL-C level between 70-189 mg/dL and 10-year risk of developing heart disease of greater than 7%
The target LDL-C value is:
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