How Often Do You Need To Get Your Cholesterol Level Checked
A cholesterol test is also known as a lipid profile or a lipid panel. Its a blood test that measures HDL, LDL, triglyceride, VLDL, and total cholesterol levels.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommends a baseline cholesterol screening between the ages of nine and 11, and then every five years after that. Once men reach the age of 45 and women turn 55, a screening should be done every one to two years, depending on various factors. Anyone over 65 should get a cholesterol screening every year.
Your doctor may recommend more frequent tests at any age if your levels arent in the desirable range, or if you have specific risk factors for high cholesterol, such as a high blood pressure or a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease.
An Easy And Important Test
High cholesterol usually has no symptoms. Thats why its important to have your doctor check your cholesterol levels with a simple blood test.
It may be a “fasting” or “non-fasting” lipoprotein profile. Your doctor will tell you if you should fast before your test.
In the test, a health care professional takes a sample of your blood. If additional blood tests are needed, all the samples are usually taken at once. Discomfort is usually minor.
After the blood sample is taken, its analyzed in a laboratory, where the levels of HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides are measured. Your test report will show your cholesterol level in milligrams per deciliter of blood .
To determine your cardiovascular risk, your doctor will consider your cholesterol test results in context with your age, sex and family history. Other risk factors, such as smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure, will be considered as well. If your risk remains uncertain, and treatment options are unclear, your healthcare professional may consider other factors and/or request a coronary artery calcium measurement to provide greater insight into your risk and help in decision-making.
Most Comprehensive Home Kit: Sdbio Curo L7 Professional Grade Lipid Blood Cholesterol Test Home Kit
Provides your full blood lipid panel on one strip with just one blood sample
Pro level electronic monitor is sleek and compact, ideal for traveling
Limited 1-year warranty
High cost compared to similar electronic analyzers
Another electronic monitor, the Curo L7 cholesterol test kit, provides the best range of cholesterol test options. It reports six data points with just one blood sampletotal cholesterol, HDL, LDL, LDL/HDL, non-HDL, and triglycerides. It uses profile cholesterol test strips that are capable of reporting your entire blood lipid panel instead of requiring a different type of test strip for every type of cholesterol.
The monitor itself is sleek and compact, making it an ideal choice for folks who travel a lot or seem to always be on the move. The kit comes with the meter, 10 profile testing strips, lancets, capillary rods, and a one-year warranty.
Test Type: Test strips and electronic analyzer | Type of Cholesterol Measured: Full blood lipid panel: total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, LDL/HDL, non-HDL, and triglycerides | Result Speed: Three minutes
Budget-friendly price and easy to use
Provides results quickly in under 5 minutes
Can incur user error with manual analysis
Results limited to 5 mmol/L range
Test Type: Manual cholesterol test | Type of Cholesterol Measured: Total cholesterol | Result Speed: 3 minutes
Results available for review on the Choose Health app
Provides additional stats for cardio and general health
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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:
What Causes High Cholesterol
The most common cause of high cholesterol is an unhealthy lifestyle. This can include
- Unhealthy eating habits, such as eating lots of bad fats. One type, saturated fat, is found in some meats, dairy products, chocolate, baked goods, and deep-fried and processed foods. Another type, trans fat, is in some fried and processed foods. Eating these fats can raise your LDL cholesterol.
- Lack of physical activity, with lots of sitting and little exercise. This lowers your HDL cholesterol.
- Smoking, which lowers HDL cholesterol, especially in women. It also raises your LDL cholesterol.
Genetics may also cause people to have high cholesterol. For example, familial hypercholesterolemia is an inherited form of high cholesterol. Other medical conditions and certain medicines may also cause high cholesterol.
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When Does High Cholesterol Require Medication
If you make essential lifestyle changes and your cholesterol level doesnt improve after three months, you may need to take one of a variety of medications to lower your cholesterol. Your physician will weigh a range of factors to determine whether medication is right for you, and if so, what type. One of these factors is your ASCVD score, which is a calculation of both the 10-year and lifetime risk of heart attack and stroke in people over 40. Its used to help your physician determine whether a statin drug might benefit you.
Is High Cholesterol Always Unhealthy
Whether or not high cholesterol is bad depends on whether it is good or bad cholesterol.
You want your high-density lipoprotein cholesterol high. Its the healthy cholesterol your heart needs to function.
If your low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is high, its bad for your health. This is the kind of cholesterol that builds up in your arteries and blocks blood flow to and from your heart.
High LDL cholesterol increases your heart attack and stroke risk. High triglycerides in your blood do the same.
Healthy cholesterol levels are approximately:
- LDL 100 mg/dL or less
- HDL 60 mg/dL or higher
- Triglycerides 150 mg/dL or less
- Total cholesterol 200 mg/dL or less
In the past, the only way to measure your cholesterol levels was to have your doctor conduct a blood test. But now, there are at home cholesterol tests that help you get an idea of where you stand.
At home cholesterol tests can help you make lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol levels.
Remember, even if your cholesterol levels are less than ideal, they dont need to stay that way. Cholesterol is one of the health issues over which most people have a decent amount of control.
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Reasons To Test At Home
People who are concerned that they may have high cholesterol may wish to perform a test to find out if they need to see a doctor. Individuals may also wish to periodically test to see what their cholesterol is between checkups with their doctor. Keep in mind that it is not a good idea to try and treat high cholesterol on your own. If you perform a test and find out that you have elevated cholesterol levels, its important to consult a medical professional.
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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Cholesterol Testing At Home
Although high cholesterol can have serious health implications, the condition is typically treatable. Doctors can prescribe medications to help lower levels of LDL in your body and increase levels of good cholesterol that helps deliver LDL back to the liver. Dietary and lifestyle changes can also lower LDL levels, decreasing your risk of heart attack or stroke. The first step toward addressing high cholesterol is knowing that you have it. Home testing kits may allow you to find out without having to visit a doctor.
How Is A Cholesterol Home Test Kit Used
You can purchase a cholesterol home test kit at your local pharmacy or medical supply store. They are usually priced under $20. The standard cholesterol home test kit contains a lancet for drawing blood and test strips.
To use a cholesterol home test kit, you first prick your finger with the lancet. Next, you place the blood droplet on the test strip. The cholesterol home test strip has special chemicals that change colors after a few minutes. You then match the final color against a color guide that’s included with the kit. This color will tell you how much cholesterol is in your droplet of blood.
Some new cholesterol home test kits have an electronic meter. This meter functions in a similar way as a diabetes blood glucose meter. The test strips are inserted into the electronic device and a small computer measures the amount of cholesterol automatically. The electronically metered cholesterol home test kit costs more than the paper test strip method. The electronic meter kit, however, is helpful if you want to check your cholesterol level more frequently.
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How And When To Have Your Cholesterol Checked
Getting your cholesterol levels checked is an important part of staying healthy. High cholesterol increases your risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death in the United States.
Knowing your cholesterol status can help you stay in control of your health. Learn about cholesterol screening and why it is important.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that your body needs to make hormones and digest fats. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs, but you can also get cholesterol from eating certain foods, such as egg yolks and fatty meats. Having high blood cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, putting you at risk for heart disease and stroke. High blood cholesterol doesnt have symptoms, which is why getting your cholesterol levels checked is so important.
Learn more about cholesterol screenings.
You should get your cholesterol checked at least every 5 years. If you have cardiovascular risk factors, talk with your health care team about getting tested more often.
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. A healthcare practitioner will take into consideration total cholesterol results and the other components of a lipid profile as well as other risk factors to help determine a person’s overall risk of heart disease, whether treatment is necessary and, if so, which treatment will best help to lower the person’s risk.
In 2002, the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III provided the guidelines for evaluating lipid levels and determining treatment. However, in 2013, the ACC and AHA issued guidelines for adults that made recommendations on who should receive cholesterol-lowing therapy. .
However, use of the updated guidelines remains controversial. Many still use the older guidelines from the NCEP ATP III to evaluate lipid levels and cardiovascular disease risk:
For adults, in a routine setting where testing is done to screen for risk, the test results are grouped in three categories of risk:
For children and adolescents:
- A cholesterol below 170 mg/dL is acceptable.
- A result of 170-199 mg/dL is borderline.
- A total cholesterol reading greater than or equal to 200 mg/dL is considered high.
For young adults:
- A cholesterol below 190 mg/dL is acceptable.
- A result of 190-224 mg/dL is borderline.
- A total cholesterol greater than or equal to 225 mg/dL is considered high.
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Why Monitor Your Cholesterol
When you have your cholesterol levels checked with your doctor and continue to monitor them with a home-test kit, you will know when you may need to take steps, such as exercise, dietary changes, and even medication, to control them. As we mentioned above, high cholesterol levels are not beneficial to your health and can lead to serious trouble, including atherosclerosis , stroke, angina, and heart attack.
What’s Included In A Cholesterol Test
A cholesterol test, sometimes called a lipid profile, will measure a range of different types of fats in your blood:
- HDL cholesterol
- Total cholesterol HDL + LDL + triglycerides
- Cholesterol ratio total cholesterol/HDL
Your sample will be analysed by a CQC-registered and UKAS accredited lab. This finger-prick test and kit are CE-marked.
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Why Take A Cholesterol And Lipids Test
Having a combined cholesterol and lipids test is one of the most common ways to assess your overall heart health. High levels of cholesterol and lipids have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and peripheral artery disease. Monitoring your blood cholesterol and controlling high cholesterol levels can be key to reducing your risk for these disorders. This mail-in cholesterol test kit evaluates the four key components of a lipid panel: total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein , calculated low-density lipoprotein , and triglycerides.
For Two Available In Pharmacies
What it contains: A lancet and results chart, plus you get two tests in one kit.
How to use: The same pinprick and drop of blood technique as the Boots kit.
How easy is it? The instructions were really clear, and having two tests is really useful if the first one goes wrong for any reason. Again, I only had to wait three minutes for my results, but the test strip and colour chart were identical to the Boots kit so it was also difficult to read.
Verdict: This kit is slightly better value than the single test, working out at £9 a test, although I was still struggling to interpret my results. 3/5
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What Do The Results Mean
It is important for someone to know their cholesterol levels to make certain lifestyle changes to get to a healthy range. Numbers outside the desired level may mean a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
Additional risk factors, such as smoking and being overweight, also play a role in a persons risk of cardiovascular disease.
The lists the following desired cholesterol levels:
Food and Drug Administration , home cholesterol tests have an accuracy level similar to doctors tests. But user error can affect the results.
It is essential for people to follow all manufacturers directions to get the most accurate results. The accuracy can also vary from brand to brand. When choosing an at-home cholesterol test, people should check it is affiliated with the CDCs tracking program. This means the test meets the programs standards for accuracy.
People that have cholesterol levels outside the desired ranges should consider talking to their healthcare professional. Different cholesterol values determine what type of treatment plan is most appropriate.
A doctor can recommend lifestyle changes and medications to help manage and lower high cholesterol.
lifestyle changes for high cholesterol include:
- maintaining a moderate weight via a balanced diet and regular exercise
- avoiding tobacco products and smoking