Fingerstick Vs Blood Draw: Which Biometric Screening Option Is Best For Employers
Founder & president of corporate health & wellness services provider, TotalWellness.
With all of the latest wellness technology and platforms emerging in the recent years, companies might start to forget about the root of all workplace wellness programs: biometric screenings. Health screenings serve as the foundation to any wellness program. A company cannot truly get employees on board for wellness without understanding their own health first. Biometric screenings provide a solution for workplace health education giving employees the convenient opportunity to learn key health numbers without having to take PTO to visit a doctor.
Biometric screenings have gained momentum throughout the recent years and theres a reason for its popularity. According to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundations 2016 Employer Health Benefits Survey, 53% of large firms and 20% of small firms offering health benefits provide employees the opportunity to complete biometric screenings. Many companies understand that these key health numbers present employees with a baseline to help them learn and incorporate healthy habits.
Fingersticks tend to be the more popular choice for employee biometric screenings. Overall, this method is more convenient and an easier process. Fingersticks involve a health professional pricking the participants finger to collect a small sample of blood. The blood samples are then run through a machine to analyze results.
Venipuncture Blood Draw
How To Test Your Cholesterol Levels
To test your cholesterol levels, you need to collect a blood sample. The two main ways to do this are to do:
- a venous blood test a trained professional will use a needle to puncture a vein, usually in your arm, to collect a blood sample.
- a finger-prick blood test using a lancet, you can prick your own finger and collect a small blood sample.
What Is A Fingerstick Screening And What Does It Test For
A fingerstick screening is a way to get a quick snapshot of your overall health. Fingerstick health screenings require just a few drops of blood, and results are available in as little as 15 minutes, which makes this screening modality a good option for certain work site wellness events. During an on-site fingerstick blood collection, the provider uses a lancet to stick a participants finger and collect approximately 4 drops of blood for immediate analysis.
Quest’s fingerstick screenings include biometric measurements and the popular Lipid + Glucose panel to screen for total cholesterol, HDL , triglycerides, calculated LDL, cholesterol/HDL ratio, and glucose. Non-fasting panels, and specialized tests, including cotinine and , are also available upon request.
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Collecting The Samples And Curated Results
You will need to collect the samples yourself for the EverlyWell tests since they are at home tests. They arent very invasive though thankfully far less invasive than the kinds of tests that they use in clinics.
You can also trust that they are just as accurate since they have been backed by scientific research. Were not going to cover all of the science in this review, but its worth noting that EverlyWell has a validation process.
If new testing methods differ from what you would find in a clinical practice, then that test needs to go through this process.
So, how are they done? Well, the blood tests are simple since they are conducted using a dried blood spot method. You dont need a lot of blood for it, and the brand believes that blood is wasted through the traditional method of drawing the blood from the veins.
The company also has other collection methods for their tests, such as vaginal swabs, stool samples, saliva, and urine samples.
The tests are always checked to ensure that they can accurately identify biomarkers, and you will get a full set of instructions with each test to show you what you need to do.
The tests have been specifically made to look for particular biomarkers. For instance, it may check for your testosterone levels in a test of your saliva. In a dried blood test you may be looking for cholesterol levels.
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.
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What Other Customers Are Saying
So, onto one of the most important parts of the review. What do most customers think of the EverlyWell tests?
Well, lets just mention one thing straight away we havent mentioned the Food Sensitivity Test. This is actually the one that you are most likely to find if you look for EverlyWell tests review.
You may be wondering why we havent talked about it. Its mainly because the method used to test for it is a little bit dubious.
If you look on websites like Amazon, Reddit and other reviews then you will find that many people have asked their doctors about these tests. Doctors have often responded saying that Immunoglobulin G reactivity will not tell you if you have an allergy to a certain kind of food.
It can often be difficult to test for food allergies, which is why doctors will usually figure out if you have an allergy based on a process of trial and error. For that reason, we cant in good conscience recommend this particular test.
With that being said, this is just one test amongst many others its just an outlier. The rest of the tests are pretty fantastic.
In fact, the brand has received a number of positive reviews online. People are really fond of how convenient they are and the privacy they offer. People also like that you can get the results quickly and understanding them is simple.
Some people have reported that there are some issues with the shipping too, so its worth keeping that in mind.
What Is The Everlywell Return Policy
Since your bodily fluids are a biohazard, its not possible to return your test if its already been shipped. If you receive the test and arent happy then you will need to throw it out. With that being said, it is possible to get a refund.
In the event that the order doesnt ship, its also possible to get a complete refund.
If you havent received the results and its been less than 30 days since placing the order, its also possible to get a total refund other than $15, which is what covers the processing and shipping.
You cant get a refund if the order has been placed beyond that 30 day mark or if you already have your results.
If you are concerned, you can get in contact with the brand to make a complaint or ask a question.
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The Difference Between Nonfasting & Fasting Cholesterol Tests
The amount of cholesterol in your blood is directly correlated with your risk of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Cholesterol tests involve drawing a blood sample from your arm to measure the level of cholesterol components in your blood. The American Heart Association recommends that adults over the age of 20 have their cholesterol checked every five years 1.
When To See A Doctor
At-home tests cannot provide the information needed to assess your cardiovascular risk or decide when treatment is needed.
And although at-home cholesterol tests may let you know that you may have high cholesterol levels, the FDA states that home-use tests are best interpreted when they are evaluated alongside your medical history, a physical exam, and other tests performed during a doctor visit.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults 20 years or older should have their cholesterol checked by their doctor every four to six years. Those with heart disease, diabetes, or a family history of high cholesterol should see their doctor more frequently.
Talk with your doctor so that they can help assess your risk and advise you on how frequently you need to see them for testing.
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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?
Foods To Lower Cholesterol
The foods a person consumes can affect their cholesterol levels over time.
Some foods can help reduce cholesterol. For example, soluble fiber can bind with cholesterol in the digestive system and from the body. Additionally, polyunsaturated fats can help lower LDL levels.
According to Harvard Health, a person should aim to include the following in their diet:
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What Can I Do To Lower My Cholesterol
You may be able to reduce your cholesterol by making changes to your lifestyle such as:
- eating healthy foods, including lots of fruit and vegetables, low or reduced fat milk, lean meat, nuts and seeds
- avoiding takeaways and deep fried foods, cakes, biscuits, pastries and chips
- reducing red meat, cheese and butter
- staying at a healthy weight
- exercising regularly being active for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week
- not drinking too much alcohol
- eating healthy fats.
Image: BPAC, NZ
What Are The Drawbacks
While home test kits offer several benefits, they also have shortcomings.
Limited measurements. Many kits only measure your overall cholesterol levels. This is not enough information to assess your heart health. You can have a normal total cholesterol level, but still have high LDL or bad cholesterol. To get a clear assessment of your heart health, look for a kit that tests LDL, HDL, and triglyceride levels.
Hard to read. If you dont use a kit with an electronic meter, you may have trouble reading the color on the test strip. This will make it more difficult to interpret your test results.
Lack of medical evaluation. Home health kits cannot replace your healthcare providers insights. Only your physician can consider factors such as your weight, diet, exercise, blood pressure, and whether or not you smoke. This will help your doctor determine the best treatment options for you if your cholesterol is high.
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The Swing Is The Thing
The company has so far only received FDA approval on one of its prick-based blood tests. But that test may be a best-case scenario, William Clarke, a clinical chemist at Johns Hopkins University, told Ars. The test detects a herpes infection, which is a yes-or-no, present-or-absent kind of testnot a test with the possibility of big swings, Clarke said.
Swings were the problem in the study led by Richards-Kortum. She and her colleague Meaghan Bond drew blood from 11 healthy donors and used successive finger droplets for a handful of tests, including ones that measured hemoglobin and white blood cells. At first, the researchers thought maybe their equipment was off. But after testing the samples further, diluting them into larger volumes of liquid and comparing results with venous samples as controls, the researchers found that the droplets themselves varied.
The results are not shocking, Clarke said. The study only looked at relatively big, cell-based blood components, he noted, which may drain out differently depending on blood flow. And, he noted, some other tests using blood drops, such as glucose, have been worked out and are accurate. But, he added, the study offers a good reminder that diagnostic developers need to be careful.
Still, variability might not make a diagnostic test useless, Clarke noted. Any test or sample method will have variability, its just a matter of how much and if a health professional can still use the results to make the right call.
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Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that the liver produces. Its vital for the formation of cell membranes, vitamin D, and certain hormones. Eating too many foods that contain high amounts of fat increases the level of LDL cholesterol in a persons blood. This is known as high cholesterol, also called hypercholesterolemia or hyperlipidemia. Can your mouth determine your risk of high cholesterol?
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Purchasing In Bulk/high Unit Volume
Please note that when purchasing high unit volumes of single lines that delivery promotions are null and void.This is as a result of high volume orders not being able to be dispatched via our normal third party fulfilment.As a result for any excessive bulk orders of single lines we will be in touch regarding your order to discuss further delivery costs that will be incurred.
Types Of Home Cholesterol Test Kits
Strip-only tests: This inexpensive home cholesterol test is the most basic and involves placing drops of blood on test strips. Color changes indicate cholesterol numbers. These easy-to-use kits typically include strips, a lancet, and blood collection droppers for several readings and give quick results. The primary drawback is that they have higher reports of inaccuracies than other kits, making them not ideal for consumers who need reliable readings, such as those with known high cholesterol.
Meter tests: Home cholesterol tests that require a meter work similarly to blood glucose tests and provide a fast reading with a decent level of accuracy. Its also an affordable option one meter is all thats needed for repeated testing. You can choose a meter by itself or one that comes with lancets, strips, and blood collection droppers. However, there is a learning curve when you begin using a meter and inconsistent readings can occur. Some kits offer dual capabilities for also testing glucose levels .
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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
What Is Ldl Hdl And Triglycerides
When you conduct a lipid profile, you will notice that there are four levels on the report. Each of these readings indicate a level of a different aspect of your blood cholesterol levels and gives your doctor an idea of your bodys fat metabolism.
In South Africa, blood cholesterol is measured in mmol/L millimole per litre. However some machines imported into the country may measure your cholesterol in mg/dL and the readings will differ between the two standards of measure.
How To Save Money On At
As you can see, the cost of home cholesterol tests varies greatly. Some go for less than the ones mentioned in this article, and others cost much more. To save money, consider what your goals are for cholesterol testing. Do you need to test regularly to see if your medication is working? Are you just curious about your heart health? Answering these questions can help you decide which kit is best for you.
To save on the actual price of a kit:
Check the manufacturers website for specials
Look for coupons or promo codes online
Use funds from your flexible spending account or your health savings account
Compare prices on online pharmacies and with mega-retailers like Amazon and Walmart
Over 100 million Americans have total cholesterol levels above the healthy level of 200 mg/dL. Of that number, more than 35 million have levels of 240 mg/dL or higher. Perhaps the best way to save money is to take an at-home cholesterol test, know your numbers, and start working with your doctor towards better heart health.