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.
How Do I Prepare For The Test
You may need to not eat or drink anything but water for 12 to 14 hours before this test. In addition, be sure your healthcare provider knows about all medicines, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you are taking. This includes medicines that don’t need a prescription and any illicit drugs you may use.
How Are Cholesterol Tests Results Used
Your doctor will make a treatment recommendation based on your level of heart disease risk. Guidelines do not use a single cholesterol level to determine treatment options.
- If you already have coronary heart disease with symptoms such as chest pain or a previous heart attack, taking medication to reduce your low density lipoprotein cholesterol is very beneficial and possibly life-saving.
- If you have been hospitalized due to heart attack or stroke, you will start treatment before you leave the hospital. The latest 2018 cholesterol guidelines recommend using a high-intensity statin , such as higher doses of rosuvastatin or atorvastatin to get cholesterol levels below 70 mg/dL. You will be encouraged to follow a heart-healthy diet, exercise, lose weight and stop smoking, if needed.
- If you do not have a diagnosis of heart disease but your cholesterol levels are high, your doctor will look at your other risk factors, and may determine your 10-year risk of cardiac disease. Usually, lifestyle changes like a healthy diet and exercise are implemented for the first 6 to 12 months. Diet and exercise can drop cholesterol levels by roughly 10 percent.
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Learn About Other Precautions To Help You Stay Safe While Taking Statins
Statins are the most common medicine used to treat high blood cholesterol. Learn some tips to stay safe if your doctor gives you statins.
- Keep taking your statin medicine as prescribed. If you started taking a statin after you recently had a heart attack, a stroke, or another complication, you should not stop taking this medicine on your own, because that can increase your risk for a repeat event or even death. Ask your doctor if you have any concerns about your medication or if you would like to stop or change to a different treatment.
- Ask your doctor what medicines, nutritional supplements, or foods you should avoid. Some of these can interact with statins to cause serious side effects or make them less effective. For example, grapefruit affects how your liver breaks down some statins.
- Tell your doctor about any symptoms or side effects. Sometimes, people report muscle problems while taking statins. If you start having muscle pain, your doctor may order a blood test to look for muscle damage. The pain may go away if you switch to a different statin. Muscle damage with statins is rare, and your muscles may heal when you switch to a different medicine.
- If you are a woman who is planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about your options. You should stop taking statins about three months before getting pregnant. Also, you should not take statins if you are breastfeeding.
Why It Is Done
Cholesterol and triglyceride testing is done:
- As part of a routine physical exam to screen for high cholesterol and high triglycerides.
- To check your response to medicine.
- To help find your risk of having heart and blood flow problems, including heart attack and stroke.
- If you have unusual symptoms, such as yellow fatty deposits in the skin . These symptoms may be caused by a genetic disease that causes very high cholesterol levels.
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What Are The Types Of Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol: low density lipoprotein and high density lipoprotein .
LDL is considered the bad cholesterol, because it contributes to the fatty build ups in arteries.
HDL is considered the good cholesterol which when healthy can help protect against heart attack and stroke. It is better to have higher levels of HDL cholesterol and lower levels of LDL cholesterol.
There are also triglycerides, which is another type of fat in the bloodstream, that are also tied to heart disease.
If Cholesterol Is Necessary Why Do We Have To Worry About How Much We Have
Having enough cholesterol to meet your needs is important. Having too much cholesterol can cause problems. If your cholesterol levels are high, the condition is called hypercholesterolemia. If your cholesterol levels are low, the condition is called hypocholesterolemia. It is not common to have cholesterol levels that are too low, but it can happen.
General Information And Causes
Cholesterol is a white, waxy substance that is circulated in the blood. It is essential for your good health as it helps to build cell walls and is used in the manufacture of some hormones.
However, when there is more cholesterol circulating in the blood than the body needs, it can build up on your artery walls, eventually leading to narrowing and hardening of the arteries. This process is known as atherosclerosis and increases the risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases. More than half of New Zealanders admitted to hospital with a heart attack have high cholesterol levels.
This risk of a cardiovascular health event increases when high blood cholesterol is accompanied by other risk factors such as high blood pressure and a family history of heart disease.
Your liver produces most of the cholesterol circulating in your blood. A diet high in saturated fat stimulates the liver to produce more cholesterol so the saturated fat content of the food you eat is likely to have a strong influence on your blood cholesterol levels.
A small proportion of your blood cholesterol is derived from dietary cholesterol – i.e. cholesterol that is already present in animal foods you might consume .
Other factors that may influence your blood cholesterol levels include:
- Genetic susceptibility to high cholesterol
How Is A Lipid Disorder Diagnosed
To check your cholesterol levels, your doctor will order a blood test called a lipid profile, or lipid panel. This test measures your total cholesterol and triglycerides. Before this test, your doctor will likely ask you to avoid eating and drinking liquids other than water for at least 8 to 12 hours.
The lipid profile measures cholesterol in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter . Your total cholesterol level should be no higher than 200 mg/dL. Learn how to understand your cholesterol results.
A combination of medications and lifestyle changes is a common treatment plan to correct high cholesterol and triglycerides. Your doctor may also suggest certain supplements.
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So Should You Be Worried If Your Cholesterol Is Elevated
If your cholesterol is high, you need to find the reason.
As I mentioned, the vast majority of cholesterol in your body was made in your liver. Cholesterol production increases when the body is under stress: emotional stress can cause elevated cholesterol because the stress hormone cortisol is made out of cholesterol. Physical stress on the body can also elevate cholesterol. Because cholesterol helps to repair and heal your body, you will produce more if there is a great deal of inflammation occurring in your body. So all those factors above that raise inflammation, can raise your cholesterol too.
Therefore the cure for elevated cholesterol can be quite simple lower the inflammation and youll also lower the cholesterol.
Other factors that may cause elevated cholesterol include:
We do need some cholesterol in our bodies for good health you dont want your cholesterol to be too low but you dont want it too high either. However, its important to remember that high cholesterol is not the cause of your health problems it is simply a clue that something is not quite right with your health, and its likely that the real problem is too much inflammation.
For more information see our book Cholesterol: The Real Truth.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.
When Should I Have A Cholesterol Check
We believe all adults should know their cholesterol numbers, no matter what your age. Even if you havent been invited for a cholesterol check its a good idea to get one anyway because its the only way to know your cholesterol numbers.
You should also be offered a free cholesterol test by the NHS if any of the following apply to you:
You are aged 40-74
Your GP should invite you for an NHS health check once every five years from the age of 40 to 74. The NHS health check is designed to spot the early signs of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, diabetes and dementia. Youll be weighed and measured, have a cholesterol check and a blood pressure check, and youll be asked some simple questions about your health.
You are at high risk of heart disease
Your GP or practice nurse might also offer you a cholesterol test if you are more likely to develop heart disease. For example, if other people in your family have had it, you smoke, youre overweight, or you have high blood pressure, diabetes or certain other health problems.
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How Is High Cholesterol Treated
There are several ways to lower high blood cholesterol , including lifestyle changes or medication, or both. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine which therapy is best for you.
Healthcare providers like to start with the least invasive treatments when possible, such as lifestyle changes. Youll be advised to:
- Avoid tobacco. If you do smoke, quit. Smoking is bad for you in many ways, and reducing your level of good cholesterol is one of them.
- Change the way you eat. Limit the amount of trans fats and saturated fat. Eat heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, poultry, fish and whole grains. Limit red meat, sugary products and dairy products made with whole milk.
- Get more exercise. Try to get about 150 minutes of physical activity every week, or about 30 minutes per day for most days of the week.
- Keep a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, talk to your healthcare provider about safe ways to do this. Youll see results even before you reach your ideal weight. Losing even 10% of your body weight makes a difference in your cholesterol levels.
- Reduce the effect of negative emotions. Learn healthy ways to deal with anger, stress or other negative emotions.
- Control blood sugar and blood pressure. Make sure you follow your healthcare providers instructions for blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes, and for keeping blood pressure in the healthy range.
- Atorvastatin .
- Simvastatin .
- Pitavastatin .
Why Do I Need A Cholesterol Test
Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance. Your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs. But you take in more cholesterol from certain foods, such as those from animals. If you have too much cholesterol in your body, it can build up in the walls of your arteries and eventually harden. This process, called atherosclerosis, actually narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to travel through the vessels.
Unfortunately, high cholesterol doesn’t cause symptoms. In later stages of atherosclerosis, though, you may suffer angina — severe chest pain from lack of blood flow to the heart. If an artery gets totally blocked, a heart attack results. A routine blood cholesterol test is a far better way of finding out what your cholesterol level is.
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How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally
In some cases, you may be able to lower your cholesterol levels without taking medications. For example, it may be enough to eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking tobacco products.
Some people also claim that certain herbal and nutritional supplements may help lower cholesterol levels. For instance, such claims have been made about:
- ground flax seed
However, the level of evidence supporting these claims varies. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved any of these products for treating high cholesterol. More research is needed to learn if they can help treat this condition.
Always talk to your doctor before taking any herbal or nutritional supplements. In some cases, they might interact with other medications youre taking. Learn more about natural remedies for high cholesterol.
Genetic risk factors for high cholesterol cant be controlled. However, lifestyle factors can be managed.
To lower your risk of developing high cholesterol:
- Eat a nutritious diet thats low in cholesterol and animal fats, and high in fiber.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
- Exercise regularly.
- Dont smoke.
You should also follow your doctors recommendations for routine cholesterol screening. If youre at risk of high cholesterol or coronary heart disease, they will likely encourage you to get your cholesterol levels tested on a regular basis. Find out how to get your cholesterol levels checked.
How Much Does The Test Cost
You may find it helpful to talk with your doctor about the costs of cholesterol testing. The cost of cholesterol testing may depend on several factors:
- What type of cholesterol test is being taken
- Whether LDL is being calculated or measured
- Insurance coverage
- Where the test is being performed
Blood testing is typically covered by insurance when prescribed by a doctor, but you may be responsible for out-of-pocket costs on copays, deductibles, or technician fees.
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How Do I Prepare For My Cholesterol Test
If your doctor recommends a “non-fasting” cholesterol test, the lab will look only at your total cholesterol numbers. For that test, you merely need to show up at the lab and have some blood drawn. If your doctor suggests a “fasting” cholesterol test , the lab will analyze your levels of LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol. For that test, you will need to fast nine to 12 hours before the blood test.
Sometimes a doctor will ask you to do a non-fasting cholesterol test first. Depending on the results, they may then send you back for the more complete lipid profile.
When Should You Contact Your Healthcare Provider About Your Cholesterol Levels
In truth, your healthcare provider will probably talk to you about your numbers first. As always, contact your provider if you have any new or worsening pain or other uncomfortable feelings. Make sure you know what medications you take and what they are expected to do. Call the provider if you have a reaction to the medicine.
Before you go to the office, and after you have had a cholesterol test, it helps to have a list of questions prepared about your test results and any proposed treatment.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
When considering cholesterol numbers, its important to remember that you really have the ability to make those numbers go in your favor. What you choose to eat, how much you are able to move and how you deal with lifes ups and downs are things that you can influence.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/31/2020.
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What Is A Lipoprotein Blood Test
A lipoprotein test measures the level of lipoprotein in your blood. Lipoproteins are substances made of protein and fat that carry cholesterol through your bloodstream. There are two main types of cholesterol:
- High-density lipoprotein , or “good” cholesterol
- Low-density lipoprotein , or “bad” cholesterol.
Lipoprotein is a type of LDL cholesterol. A high level of lipoprotein may mean you are at risk for heart disease.
Other names: cholesterol Lp, Lp
Medical History And Physical Exam
Your doctor will ask about your eating habits, physical activity, family history, medicines you are taking, and risk factors for heart or blood vessel diseases.
During your physical exam, your doctor will check for signs of very high blood cholesterol, such as xanthomas, or signs of other health conditions that can cause high blood cholesterol.
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What Happens During A Cholesterol Test
A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
Cholesterol tests are usually done in the morning, as you may be asked to refrain from eating for several hours prior to the test.
You may also be able to use an at-home kit to test for cholesterol. While instructions may vary between brands, your kit will include some kind of device to prick your finger. Youll use this device to collect a drop of blood for testing. Be sure to follow the kit instructions carefully.
Also, be sure to tell your health care provider if your at-home test results shown your cholesterol level is higher than 200 mg/dl.
What Should You Eat
Until science figures out the answer, what should you eat?
Donât view the study as a green light to load up on butter, steak, and cheese. Be smart about the saturated fats in your diet.
âCountless studies show that if you replace saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat, you do get a reduction in heart disease risk,â says Alice Lichtenstein, professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University in Boston. Polyunsaturated fats, often called omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, come from vegetable oils — soybean, corn, and canola — and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, and trout. They are also found in most nuts, especially walnuts, pine nuts, pecans, and brazil nuts.
The best way to prevent heart disease may be to eat more whole, unprocessed foods. So eat fish, beans, fruits, vegetables, brown rice, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and olive oils, and even some animal products like yogurt and high-quality meat and cheese. The Mediterranean diet, which draws about 45% of calories from fat — including small amounts of saturated fat — is a good choice.
And remember: Diet isnât the only reason people get or donât get heart disease. Your genes and lifestyle habits also play a part.
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