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.
How To Get Tested
Cholesterol tests are usually done using blood that is drawn from a vein in your arm. This procedure is typically done in a doctors office, clinic, or medical lab. When the laboratory analyzes your blood, total cholesterol is frequently measured along with other types of cholesterol in a lipid panel test that is ordered by your doctor.
Total cholesterol can also be measured with rapid, point-of-care testing. This kind of test requires putting a drop of blood from your finger on a special test strip that is inserted into a small device, giving results within minutes. Point-of-care testing is used in some medical offices and clinics and may also be found at health fairs.
What Do The Results From A Cholesterol Home Test Kit Mean
Your cholesterol level is one part of an equation that your doctor uses to determine your risk of a heart attack and stroke in the next 10 years. Other parts include your race, gender, age, HDL cholesterol level, and blood pressure. In addition, the equation factors in your use of blood pressure medications, whether or not you have diabetes, and if you smoke.
Once you know your risk, you and your doctor can work to lower your likelihood of a heart attack or stroke. In addition to healthy lifestyle and dietary changes, you may need a medication known as a statin to reduce the level of LDL cholesterol thatâs in your blood by 20 to 60 percent.
The cholesterol kit test results are only an estimate of your cholesterol level. While the test is often as accurate as the test your health care provider uses, this home test should not be a substitute for your health care provider’s assessment.
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Are Cholesterol Home Test Kits Regulated By The Fda
The FDA does regulate certain cholesterol home test kits. There are home test kits for HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, too. However, not all cholesterol home test kits you can buy meet the FDA’s stringent guidelines.
If you are unsure about which cholesterol home test kit to purchase, the FDA has set up the Over-The-Counter Database. You can find it on the FDA’s website. This database is an excellent resource to search for FDA-cleared cholesterol home test kits. You can also use it to find other types of home test kits.
What Are Risk Factors For High Blood Cholesterol
Lifestyle, some health conditions, and family history can raise your risk for high cholesterol. Your doctor may suggest you have your cholesterol checked more often if you have risk factors, such as the following:
- A family history of heart disease or high blood cholesterol. You are more at risk of having high cholesterol if other people in your family have it. This may be due to genetics, but it may also be that families share the same unhealthy lifestyle habits. Some people also have a genetic condition called familial hypercholesterolemia, which can cause high levels of low-density lipoprotein , or bad, cholesterol from a young age.
- Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes raises bad cholesterol and lowers high-density lipoprotein , or good, cholesterol, raising the risk for heart disease and stroke.
- Older age. As you age, your body cant clear cholesterol as well as it used to.
- Being male. Men tend to have higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels than women do. But after menopause , LDL cholesterol levels in women increase.4,5
- Having overweight or obesity. Excess weight, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of physical activity can lead to high cholesterol.
- Previously having had high cholesterol. If you have a history of high cholesterol, your doctor may want you to keep a closer watch on your cholesterol.
Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before the test.
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To Take This Cholesterol Test Kit:
Order the Everlywell kit online.
Once it arrives, register the kit online using the unique ID that comes inside the kit.
Use the lancet in the kit to prick your finger and follow the collection instructions inside the kit.
Place your sample inside the sample pouch included with the kit. Then, put the sample pouch back inside the kit box.
Send the box back in the return envelope using the prepaid shipping label provided.
After the lab tests your sample, check your results on our secure, online platform.
After you take any at-home sample collection test, it is recommended that you discuss test results with your healthcare provider for appropriate follow-up. They can discuss your medical history and personally evaluate your risk for specific medical conditions.
- Have a family history of heart disease before age 50 in male relatives, or age 60 in female relatives
- Have a personal history of coronary heart disease or non-coronary atherosclerosis
- Have a personal history of diabetes
- Have a personal history of high blood pressure
- Have a BMI > 30
Things To Consider About At
According to the Food and Drug Administration , many at home tests are accurate and a great tool for managing your cholesterol levels. But they should never replace a professional medical assessment.
Accuracy of tests also tends to vary from brand to brand. Checking with your doctor before using at home tests is a good idea.
Comprehensiveness of Results
Keep in mind that at home tests might not provide comprehensive results. Many only give you your overall cholesterol score, which means you wont know the separate values of LDL and HDL. Your test results might be within the normal range, but HDL might be too low and LDL might be too high.
Reading and Interpreting Results
Some people also find it challenging to read test results from tests that do not include a monitor. And even if you can read the results, its difficult to understand them without your medical providers input.
For many, at home cholesterol tests arent very helpful because they dont know how to interpret the information. At best, they are incomplete, and at worst, they are misleading. Its always best to undergo testing administered by a healthcare professional.
However, these tests do make a useful supplemental tool if cholesterol is a concern for you. They offer an affordable option if you want to check your cholesterol frequently. Ideally, youll work with your doctor and include at home cholesterol testing as part of your overall health plan.
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How Does This Cholesterol Calculator Work
This tool functions as a total cholesterol, HDL, triglycerides and LDL calculator. Do you want to know whether your HDL, LDL levels or the TC/HDL ratio and LDL/ HDL ratio show an increased risk for heart disease?
Use it then to check if your cholesterol levels are in the normal range. All you have to do is input the data from your medical documents.
Why You Need To Get Your Cholesterol Levels Tested
Cholesterol and lipid tests are blood tests that measure the amount of different forms of cholesterol in the blood. All these forms are called lipids. The test measures total blood cholesterol, the levels of HDL , the levels of LDL and triglycerides.
The relation between all these levels can determine the risk for developing a heart disease. Since raised levels are mostly asymptomatic, medical professionals are advising everyone over the age of 20 to have them tested regularly.
Determining if you have high cholesterol can be the first step towards lowering it and therefore reducing risks related such big values.
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Are Results From A Cholesterol Home Test Kit Reliable
The reliability of cholesterol home tests varies, and the results can fluctuate. It depends on the maker of the kits. Many cholesterol home test kits advertise that they are greater than 95% accurate. Still, these cholesterol results should be considered approximations and should not take the place of a cholesterol test conducted by your health care provider.
In addition, even if you consistently get normal results from your cholesterol home kit test strips, it’s very important to consult with your health care provider. To determine your risk of heart disease, your health care provider will evaluate your cholesterol level along with other factors such as your weight, physical exam results, medical history, and family history. Your health care provider may conduct other tests aside from the cholesterol screening.
How To Check Cholesterol At Home
Cholesterol and triglyceride testing at home can be done with the Everlywell Cholesterol & Lipids test kit. The mail-in test kit comes with easy to read instructions, lancets for pricking your finger, bandages, a sample collection cassette, and a prepaid shipping label for sending your blood sample to a certified lab.
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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.
What Do I Need To Know Before Getting Screened
A cholesterol test is a simple blood test. Your doctor may tell you not to eat or drink anything except water for 9 to 12 hours before the test. The results give you four measurements:1,3
- Total cholesterol. Less than 200 mg/dL is considered normal.
- LDL cholesterol. Less than 100 mg/dL is considered normal. LDL is sometimes called bad cholesterol, because it can build up and clog your arteries, eventually leading to heart disease or stroke.
- HDL cholesterol. It is best to have more than 40 mg/dL. HDL is sometimes called good cholesterol, because it can help clear arteries of cholesterol buildup.
- Triglycerides. This is a type of fat in the blood. Normal levels are typically below 150 mg/dL.
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What Is Being Tested
Cholesterol is a substance that is essential for life. It forms the membranes for cells in all organs and tissues in the body. It is used to make hormones that are essential for development, growth, and reproduction. It forms bile acids that are needed to absorb nutrients from food. The test for cholesterol measures total cholesterol that is carried in the blood by lipoproteins.
A small amount of cholesterol circulates in the blood in complex particles called lipoproteins. Each particle contains a combination of protein, cholesterol, triglyceride, and phospholipid molecules and the particles are classified by their density into high-density lipoproteins , low-density lipoproteins , and very low-density lipoproteins . HDL-C particles, sometimes called “good” cholesterol, carry excess cholesterol away for disposal and LDL-C particles, or “bad” cholesterol, deposit cholesterol in tissues and organs.
What Age Should I Get Screened For High Blood Cholesterol
About 1 in 5 adolescents have an unhealthy cholesterol reading,1 and nearly 93 million U.S. adults age 20 or older have high cholesterol.2 But since high cholesterol doesnt have symptoms, many people dont know their levels are high.
Cholesterol should be checked starting early in lifeeven children and adolescents should have their cholesterol checked.
Cholesterol testing should be done
- Every 5 years for people age 20 or older who are at low risk for cardiovascular disease.3
- More frequently than every 5 years for people with cardiovascular disease risk factors.3
The 2018 ACC/AHA Guidelines recommend that cholesterol management be based on a persons lifetime cardiovascular risk.1
If your family has a history of early heart attacks or heart disease, or if a child has obesity or diabetes, doctors may recommend screening for high cholesterol more often.
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What Happens During A Cholesterol Test
The cholesterol test, or screening, requires a simple blood draw. You may need to fast for 8 to 12 hours before your cholesterol test. Be sure to ask your doctor how to prepare for the test.
The cholesterol test checks your levels of:
- Low-density lipoprotein or badcholesterol. Having high levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to plaque buildup in your arteries and result in heart disease or stroke.
- High-density lipoprotein or goodcholesterol. HDL is known as good cholesterol because high levels can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood that your body uses for energy. The combination of high levels of triglycerides with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol levels can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke.
- Total cholesterol, the total amount of cholesterol in your blood based on your HDL, LDL, and triglycerides numbers.
Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About My Cholesterol Levels
High cholesterol can lead to heart disease, the number one cause of death in the United States. While some risk factors for cholesterol, such as age and heredity, are beyond your control, there are actions you can take to lower your LDL levels and reduce your risk, including:
- Eating a healthy diet. Reducing or avoiding foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol can help reduce the cholesterol levels in your blood.
- Losing weight. Being overweight can increase your cholesterol and risk for heart disease.
- Staying active. Regular exercise may help lower your LDL cholesterol levels and raise your HDL cholesterol levels. It may also help you lose weight.
Talk to your health care provider before making any major change in your diet or exercise routine.
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Symptoms Of High Cholesterol
Often, there are no specific symptoms of high cholesterol. You could have high cholesterol and not know it.
If you have high cholesterol, your body may store the extra cholesterol in your arteries. These are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. A buildup of cholesterol in your arteries is known as plaque. Over time, plaque can become hard and make your arteries narrow. Large deposits of plaque can completely block an artery. Cholesterol plaques can also break apart, leading to formation of a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood.
A blocked artery to the heart can cause a heart attack. A blocked artery to your brain can cause a stroke.
Many people dont discover that they have high cholesterol until they suffer one of these life-threatening events. Some people find out through routine check-ups that include blood tests.
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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How Often Should Cholesterol Be Checked
The American Heart Association recommends that all adults 20 or older have their cholesterol and other traditional risk factors checked every four to six years as long as their risk remains low. After age 40, your health care professional will also want to use an equation to calculate your 10-year risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
People with cardiovascular disease, and those at elevated risk, may need their cholesterol and other risk factors assessed more often.
Your doctor will explain what your cholesterol levels mean and can discuss treatment options if your numbers are not where they should be.
How To Lower Your Cholesterol
If you are wondering what to do about your cholesterol follow these rules:
Get regular aerobic physical exercise. It has been proven that regular exercises increase HDL cholesterol and decrease LDL cholesterol . Moreover, it may also lower your risk of heart attack or stroke, as it reduces the blood pressure.
Diet. Eat foods low in fatty acids, saturated fats, and cholesterol. Don’t forget to include in your diet fish as they are a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Consider eating cholesterol-lowering foods, such as margarine, enriched with plant sterols and stanols.
Use medications. If the non-pharmacological ways of treatment don’t bring satisfactory results, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor who may propose drug therapies. There are numerous drugs which can be used to lower your bad cholesterol and correct your LDL HDL ratio. It has been scientifically proven that they not only lower down the cholesterol but also and prolong life.
Don’t be afraid to do good changes in your life. Calculate your LDL HDL ratio and other ratios using our cholesterol ratio calculator. Lower your cholesterol, treat hypertension and diabetes, check for abnormalities in your ECG, protect your heart and live healthier, longer and happier!
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