Home Testing for Cholesterol
Your cholesterol level is a huge factor in your health. High cholesterol is the major contributing risk factor for heart disease and heart attack. Since it's so important, the American Heart Association recommends that every adult over age 20 have a lipoprotein profile to measure their cholesterol every five years. But do you have to head to the doctor's office every time? A new market for at-home cholesterol tests has appeal for individuals who would rather do the test in the privacy of their own home.
At-home cholesterol tests approved by the FDA use a finger prick to take a small blood sample, which is then inserted into the measuring device. Results are ready in a few minutes instead of a few days, which is the common turn around for in-office cholesterol tests. The kits come with a guide or chart that helps you interpret and read your results.
As far as accuracy is concerned, FDA approved kits should be as accurate as laboratory tests. However, the American Heart Association has not taken an official stance on tests because, unlike laboratory settings, at-home settings are not controlled. Any number of variables could affect the accuracy of results. A study by Harvard University found that a common error is that users try to force blood from the prick site by squeezing around the area, which can cause inaccurate readings.