Measuring progress toward a goal can be oh, so rewarding (or, um, not)… and I recently found myself wondering whether there was an easy, inexpensive way for me to track how things are going with my lowering-cholesterol-with-just-lifestyle-changes ‘program’ in between doctor visits.
It turns out there is: there are several home cholesterol tests available online and in retail stores – and a few of them are even FDA-approved.
Indeed, according to the FDA site, some of these home cholesterol tests are, “about as accurate as the test your doctor uses, but you must follow the directions carefully.” The directions have to do with fasting – which may not even be required if you’re measuring just total cholesterol, but is important for triglyceride measurement (for more info, see my Answers.com article, No More Fasting For A Cholesterol Test?). But following the directions carefully also involves instructions for how to (repeatedly and correctly) prick your finger and draw blood.
My interest is waning. As in, I’m trying not to faint. Because I am not good with blood. At all.
In a doctor’s office the cholesterol blood test draw is OK because I just look away. But having to do it myself is a bit daunting. But on I must go – as results measurement trumps possible fainting. At least theoretically.
If you’d like to learn all about the multiple test kits available, read my article entitled Top Cholesterol Monitors for Your Budget, which was recently published on Answers.com. But if you don’t want all the details (and I wouldn’t if I were you), do what I plan to do and check out one of two home cholesterol kits.
The first is the Check Up America Cholesterol Panel Kit. What I love about this kit is that it measures all four key cholesterol measures (total cholesterol, HDL, LDL and triglycerides) and runs about $40 … so for $40 I can monitor how I’m doing without my doctor thinking I’ve lost my mind/I want to know too much, too often. (Especially since I know that cholesterol levels don’t change very quickly, so the value of this is, um, negligible.) That said, the only big downside to this kit is you have to mail in for results.
If you value instant results over the LDL cholesterol measure (and you shouldn’t, as LDL is the bad cholesterol and you should keep an eye on it), you can opt for the Accutech‘s CholesTrak HDL & Total Cholesterol Kit. It’s about $20 – a veritable bargain. But again, you don’t get the important LDL measure – but you do get results in just 15 minutes.
So if you want to monitor your cholesterol in between doctor visits, these are two FDA-approved, relatively inexpensive ways to feed your results fetish.
Let’s just hope I don’t faint if I try it.