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HomeFactsHow To Check Your Cholesterol Yourself

How To Check Your Cholesterol Yourself

How To Check Cholesterol At Home

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Cholesterol and triglyceride testing at home can be done with the Everlywell Cholesterol & Lipids testing kit, which comes with easy to read instructions, lancets for pricking your finger, bandages, a blood spot collection card, and a prepaid shipping label for sending your blood sample to a certified lab.

A More Accurate Measurement Tool

The traditional Friedewald equation estimates LDL cholesterol this way: total cholesterol minus HDL cholesterol minus triglycerides divided by five. For simplicitys sake, the formula applies a one-size-fits-all factor of five to everyone. But Johns Hopkins researchers found that this often makes LDL cholesterol appear lower than it really is for some high-risk patients. The researchers sought a more accurate formula that would take into account specific details about a persons cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Using a database of blood lipid samples from more than 1.3 million Americansalmost 3,000 times larger than the one used to develop the Friedewald equation Johns Hopkins researchers developed a more accurate system for calculating LDL cholesterol. It can be used to make more precise decisions about treatment to prevent heart attack and stroke.

This newer LDL cholesterol formula is being adopted by U.S. laboratories as well as others around the world. The best implementation is direct coding the LDL cholesterol estimation in the lab IT system, which automates the process and saves clinicians time. The formula is also available as a mobile device app called the LDL Cholesterol Calculator. It is available on the iTunes App Store and on Google Play, for those whose lab hasnt adopted it.

Researchers hope the new formula will one day be adopted by all labs that process lipid panels, as it can improve patient care.

Having Your Cholesterol Measured By A Doctor

  • 1Have your cholesterol tested at least every 5 years if you’re an adult. All adults should have their cholesterol tested every 5 years. However, if you’re obese, over the age of 40, you smoke, or you have heart disease or diabetes , your doctor may recommend that you have the test done more often.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Heart AssociationLeading nonprofit that funds medical research and public educationGo to source
  • If you’re under the age of 21, some doctors recommend getting a cholesterol screening once between the ages of 9-11 and again between the ages of 17-21. However, this may not be necessary unless you have a family history of high cholesterol or if you have other risk factors.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
  • Be sure to follow your doctor’s advice on how often to get tested so you can take steps to lower your cholesterol, if necessary. Even small changes to your diet and lifestyle can help improve your cholesterol levels, which may reduce your risk for having a heart attack or stroke.
  • Typically, your doctor will schedule the screening early in the morning, so you’ll just have to refrain from eating or drinking anything overnight.
  • Some tests don’t require you to fast, so be sure to ask your doctor ahead of time.
  • You’ll feel a pinch when the needle is inserted, but it shouldn’t be too painful.
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    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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    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 Is Being Tested

    The test measures different things:

    • The total amount of cholesterol in the blood
    • The level of HDL-cholesterol
    • The level of LDL-cholesterol
    • Triglycerides

    If you have a high level of LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, then you have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

    If your levels of cholesterol and lipids go down, then your risk goes down too.

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    When To Contact A Doctor

    People who receive a positive cholesterol test result should consider seeking medical advice. A doctor can help a person interpret their results, and suggest the most suitable treatment plan.

    Doctors may recommend making lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise, reaching or maintaining a moderate weight, and following a balanced diet.

    Why Does Cholesterol Matter

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    Your cholesterol levels can help your doctor find out your risk for having a heart attack or stroke. But it’s not just about your cholesterol. Your doctor uses your cholesterol levels plus other things to calculate your risk. These include:

    • Your blood pressure.
    • Whether or not you have diabetes.
    • Your age, sex, and race.
    • Whether or not you smoke.

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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.

    Other Natural Health Products

    There are some natural health products that you may hear about to lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.;

    Talk with your doctor about the best ways to lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Tell your doctor if you plan to use natural health products. Your doctor can make sure they are safe for you.

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    Cure : Essential Oils For High Cholesterol

    While you may question how important cooking oils can be for reducing high cholesterol levels, these oils have been found to have a direct link to reduce the risks of elevated cholesterol levels.

    The rule of thumb is very straightforward: you just have to go for cooking oils that are high in omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fat since they can help lower your bad LDL cholesterol and raise your good HDL cholesterol.

    The inherent properties of these oils can also keep cholesterol levels from rising in the first place. Here, we will explain exactly how you can use these cooking oils to make your food and how to use them for your benefit.

    A: Yes You Can Now Check Your Cholesterol At Home

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    The bigger question is, âwhat do you want to check, and how?â.

    Though the most common way to check cholesterol remains the inconvenient process of going to a doctorâs office and/or laboratory, there are now several options for checking cholesterol at home.

    First, decide whether you really want to check your cholesterol yourself. Going to your doctor or a laboratory may continue to be the best option if you feel uncomfortable administering a small blood test on yourself, or feel like you do not understand what test you are purchasing. Increasingly, however, individuals are becoming more comfortable self-administering tests and learning about basic tests like cholesterol.

    Weâve written a short article on what markers you should get results for and what tests are most common for at home cholesterol monitoring. If youâre interested in purchasing your own at home cholesterol test, be sure to read our quick guide to common testing options here.

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    How Quickly Can You Improve Your Cholesterol Levels

    Your cholesterol levels are directly tied to your heart health, so its important to make sure theyre in a healthy range. If theyre not, youll need to work on raising your good cholesterol levels and lowering your bad ones . Medications can also improve your levels, but its best to make healthy changes that will improve your overall health and wellness.

    Some of the best ways to lower your LDL levels are by:

    • Eating heart-healthy foods and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
    • Reducing your intake of saturated fats and trans fats
    • Exercising most days of the week
    • Quitting smoking if you smoke
    • Losing weight
    • Drinking alcohol in moderation

    There are many factors that contribute to having high cholesterol levels, and your diet is a major one. However, genetics play a role too. If your levels are still high with a better diet and more exercise, your doctor may recommend medication to keep your levels in check.

    How Long Does it Take to Improve Cholesterol Levels?

    One of the great things about making healthy lifestyle changes is that you can see improvements fairly quickly. Most people see their levels improve within three to six months. Research shows that it takes longer for women, so dont be hard on yourself if your levels havent gone down as much as you want. Each body is different.

    How Often Should I Check My Cholesterol?

    Where To Get A Cholesterol Test

    NHS cholesterol testThe NHS offers blood tests that can be done at your GPs or a local hospital. A trained nurse or doctor will take your blood, usually a venous sample.

    Home cholesterol test Its possible to order a home cholesterol test kit online and do it yourself. For this test, youll use a lancet to collect a finger-prick blood sample. Your results will be reviewed by a GP and are available for you to view online.

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    Things To Do To Reduce Cholesterol Before The Blood Test

    There are a handful of natural everyday modifications that you can implement into your daily routine to drop your cholesterol levels.

    Diet

    From full-fat dairy and sugary beverages to processed madness, you simply must avoid this range of food-types if you want to take cholesterol-lowering seriously.

    • You can still consume meat. As long as you pair your meals with fresh fruits, whole grains, and veggies.
    • Plants rich in fibre are excellent choices, particularly soluble fibre.
    • Recommendations: berries, barley, beans , oats, yams.

    Plant Protein

    In close connection to the previous point, consuming plant-based protein is a step in the best direction.

    • Beans, beans, and more beans.
    • Recommendations: Pinto, soy, lentils, red.
    • Unlike animal protein, which raises blood pressure, beans are renowned for bringing it down.
    • They also reduce blood sugar and insulin levels that have led scientists to believe beans play a significant role in cancer prevention and treatment.

    Good Fat

    If youve heard the name omega-3 fatty acids, then you can be sure the Diet-Universe has spoken to you.

    • This is not just good fat, but great fat, owing in large part to how well it fights heart disease.
    • Food sources: sardines, herring, salmon, trout, mackerel, halibut.

    Below are some bad fats you absolutely need to avoid if you have any plans of getting your cholesterol under control.

    White Foods

    Exercise

    You knew this point was going to land at your door sooner or later.

    Mylab Box At Home Cholesterol And Lipids Test

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    myLAB Box offers a finger prick collection method. This FDA-registered entity states that it works with CAP and CLIA-certified labs.

    The company offers free 2-day shipping on home kits. Once people collect their blood samples, they should receive their results within 25 days.

    myLAB Box states that people do not need to fast or adjust their diet before collecting their samples. It recommends that people still take any prescription medication until they discuss the test results with a doctor.

    A person may also book a consultation with a myLAB Box physician if they receive a positive result.

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    Is Any Test Preparation Needed To Ensure The Quality Of The Sample

    For a fasting;lipid profile, which may include a results for non-HDL-C, fasting for 9-12 hours before having the blood sample drawn is typically required; only water is permitted. However, some laboratories offer non-fasting lipid profiles. In particular, children and teens may have testing done without fasting. Follow any instructions you are given and be sure to tell the person drawing your blood whether or not you have fasted.

    What Changes Do You Need To Make

    One Man’s Story:

    Joe, 61

    “The walking was the easy part for me. I get out every evening for a walk. The food part took some thought. Each week, I added a food that was good for me and took something away that was bad for me.”Joe

    Read more about how Joe is getting healthy by making one change at a time.

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    How Much Do Cholesterol Home Tests Cost

    Costs are variable and reliable tests can run from $50 to over $150 per kit. If you have insurance, it may be better to have your cholesterol test done at a lab. This will allow your doctor to make recommendations based on a full lipid profile, and in most cases, the costs are covered by your insurance.

    You can search on a full list of over-the-counter;FDA-approved home cholesterol testing kits here.

    Putting The Cuffs On Hypertension

    Understanding Your Cholesterol Numbers

    Have you been tested for high blood pressure? Your doctor may put a cuff on your arm as part of a routine check-up to test your blood pressure. High blood pressure is caused by blood pushing too hard against the walls of your blood vessels, and it can be a serious medical condition. If your blood pressure levels are above normal, you might be at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

    Your doctor can test your blood pressure levels at a clinic or hospital, but you can also test your blood pressure yourself. Measuring your blood pressure at home is helpful for two reasons. First, some people get higher-than-usual blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office, usually because they are a bit nervous. Second, people with hypertension need to monitor their blood pressure regularly. Blood pressure normally changes daily, rising during activity and falling during sleep. The best way to get good readings is to check yourself at the same time of day.

    You should also take occasional readings at different times during the day and evening. This can help you determine the effects and effectiveness of blood pressure medications. Ask your doctor how often you should monitor your blood pressure.

    If you test your blood pressure at home, you have three types of home monitors to choose from:

    Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether home monitoring is a good idea for you and which type of monitor would best suit your needs.

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    What Are Hdl Ldl And Vldl

    HDL, LDL, and VLDL are lipoproteins. They are a combination of fat and protein. The lipids need to be attached to the proteins so they can move through the blood. Different types of lipoproteins have different purposes:

    • HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It is sometimes called “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body.
    • LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. It is sometimes called “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to the buildup of plaque in your arteries.
    • VLDL stands for very low-density lipoprotein. Some people also call VLDL a “bad” cholesterol because it too contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. But VLDL and LDL are different; VLDL mainly carries triglycerides and LDL mainly carries cholesterol.

    How Can I Lower My Cholesterol

    You can lower your cholesterol through heart-healthy lifestyle changes. They include a heart-healthy eating plan, weight management, and regular physical activity.

    If the lifestyle changes alone do not lower your cholesterol enough, you may also need to take medicines. There are several types of cholesterol-lowering drugs available, including statins. If you take medicines to lower your cholesterol, you still should continue with the lifestyle changes.

    Some people with familial hypercholesterolemia may receive a treatment called lipoprotein apheresis. This treatment uses a filtering machine to remove LDL cholesterol from the blood. Then the machine returns the rest of the blood back to the person.

    NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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    Types Of Home Cholesterol Tests

    There are three basic types of home cholesterol tests that can be purchased online or at your local pharmacy:

    • Test strips: These involve paper test strips that you read visually. You add a drop of blood from a finger prick and read the color change after several minutes.
    • Electronic meters: The second type requires purchasing a small analyzer, much like a glucose meter. After placing a drop of blood on a test strip, the strip is inserted into the analyzer for a reading.
    • Mail-in tests: The third type of test requires you to send tiny blood samples to a laboratory. You have to wait for them to return your results, but the analysis is done by professionals.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved several home cholesterol tests that measure total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides. There are other FDA-certified kits that measure low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. You need to check the product packaging to see which values are tested.

    If you decide to opt for home testing, it is best to only consider comprehensive kits, which are almost invariably the most expensive.

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