These days, you can do cholesterol testing at home with cholesterol test kits. They’re available at most drugstores and are available to buy online from many websites, but are they reliable and accurate?
What to Look For
Look for a test kit that monitors both HDL and LDL cholesterol rather than just total cholesterol. Results of tests that show only total cholesterol can be deceiving because you won’t be able to tell whether your high total cholesterol reading is due to “good” cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol.
The American Heart Association says it hasn’t taken a position on cholesterol home test kits. The FDA says that while home cholesterol tests vary in accuracy from brand to brand, that most of them are about as accurate as a test you would get at the doctor’s office. They also say that tests that indicate they are “traceable” to a program of the CDC may be more accurate.
The cost of the test kits varies from brand to brand, but in general they range from very affordable (under $10) for one-time test kits to more expensive (over $100) for kits that allow for repeated testing with strips.
Overall, we’d say that anything you can do to monitor your health is a good thing to do. You can test your cholesterol at home and if you find anything out of the ordinary it should be a sign that you ought to visit your doctor for a check-up.
Home test kits can also be helpful if you’ve started a new diet and want to know if the different foods you’re eating are affecting your cholesterol numbers. Try doing a test before you start the diet and then at periodic intervals after the diet starts. Keep a diary of your results and take them to your doctor if you are concerned about the results.
Have you had good or bad experiences with home cholesterol test kits? Let us know in the comments section below!