How Can I Check My Cholesterol At Home?

How Can I Check My Cholesterol At Home?

Home cholesterol testing kits

Checking your cholesterol at home involves using a home cholesterol test kit. These kits are designed to give you a general idea of your cholesterol levels without needing to visit your GP surgery.

Here's how you can check your cholesterol at home:

1. Choose a Home Cholesterol Test Kit

There are several types of home cholesterol test kits available. Some measure only total cholesterol, while others measure total cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol), HDL (good cholesterol), and triglycerides. Look for home cholesterol test kits that are approved by regulatory authorities for accuracy and reliability. We stock a range of home cholesterol test kits that are all fully certified for home testing.

2. Gather everything you will need

Your home cholesterol test kit pack will usually include:

  • Lancets (for finger pricking)
  • Test strips or a small testing device or cholesterol meter
  • A small plaster (if needed). if the pack does not include a plaster it is helpful to have one ready as all home cholesterol tests are performed on a finger prick blood sample.

3. Prepare for the cholesterol test

  • Read the instructions: Each cholesterol test kit comes with specific instructions. Read them thoroughly before starting.
  • Wash your hands: Use soap and warm water to wash your hands. This helps prevent infection and ensures that your hands are clean for the cholesterol test. The warm water also helps to warm your hands up and this improves blood flow to the fingers.
  • Select a testing site: Choose a finger to prick. It’s often recommended to use the sides of your fingertips rather than the pads, as they are less sensitive and its easier to get an adequate blood sample.
  • Massage the fingers in a downward motion towards the finger tip before you perform the finger prick as this will improve blood flow. Do this half a dozen times and it will greatly improve the blood flow.

4. Perform the cholesterol test

  1. Clean the area: Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water prior to the test and allow them to completely air dry, is the best method for home testing. You can use an alcohol swab to clean the area if you are unable to wash your hands, or if the test is being performed in a clinic setting and then let it air dry.
  2. Prick your finger: Use the lancet to make a small puncture on the side of your fingertip. Be confident. Support the finger area you are going to lance with your thumb , or rest it on a table.
  3. Collect the blood sample: Follow the instructions to apply the blood drop to the test strip or insert it into the testing device. Some home cholesterol tests call for the second drop of blood to be used for the test, as this gives a more accurate result. if this is the case be prepared with a piece of tissue to wipe away the first droplet of blood. You will aslo need a tissue or cotton wool to compress the lancing site after you have collected your blood sample. The plaster is rarely needed.
  4. Wait for the results: Depending on the cholesterol test kit that you are using, you might get your results in a few minutes. Some kits require you to send the blood sample to a lab, and you will receive the results later.

5. Interpreting the cholesterol test results in adults

  • Total Cholesterol: Less than 5 mmol/L is desirable, 5-6.4 mmol/L is borderline high, and 6.5 mmol/L and above is high.
  • LDL Cholesterol: Less than 2.6 mmol/L is optimal, 2.6-3.3 mmol/L is near optimal, 3.4-4.1 mmol/L is borderline high, 4.2-4.9 mmol/L is high, and 5 mmol/L and above is very high.
  • HDL Cholesterol: Less than 1 mmol/L is a risk factor for heart disease, 1-1.5 mmol/L is better, and 1.6 mmol/L and above is considered protective against heart disease.
  • Triglycerides: Less than 1.7 mmol/L is normal, 1.7-2.2 mmol/L is borderline high, 2.3-5.6 mmol/L is high, and 5.7 mmol/L and above is very high.

6. Follow-up

  • Record your results: Keep a log of your cholesterol readings for future reference.
  • Consult your doctor: If you have abnormal results or if you are unsure about your results, contact your GP surgery for further evaluation and advice.

Tips for getting accurate readings with home cholesterol test kits

  • Always follow the instructions closely: Accuracy depends on proper usage and user error is the most common reason for inaccurate results.
  • Master your lancing technique: poor lancing technique, and having to squeeze the finger to extrude the blood droplet, is by far the most common cause of inaccurate results on home cholesterol tests. Once you have performed the lancing correctly, you should not have to squeeze the finger.
  • Avoid food and drink before testing: For the most accurate results, especially for triglycerides, it's often recommended to fast for 9-12 hours before testing. For most people this means testing first thing in the morning before eating will yield the most accurate results.
  • Check expiration dates: Make sure the cholesterol test strips and other components that you are using for the home cholesterol test are not expired.
  • Store the cholesterol test strips and devices correctly: Store at room temperature and always remember to close the pot lid on the cholesterol test strips or devices, to ensure they do not absorb moisture, and remain in perfect condition up to their expiry date.

By regularly monitoring your cholesterol levels at home, you can stay informed about your heart health and make necessary lifestyle changes or seek medical advice as needed.

Need help with home cholesterol testing

If you require any assistance purchasing a home cholesterol testing kit, or advice regarding using the cholesterol tests that you have purchased from us, please contact Valuemed's customer support team via chat, telephone or email during our office hours Monday to friday 8.30am to 5pm at Valuemed Customer Support

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