Self-Testing Options For High Cholesterol Patients

High cholesterol problems are common among Americans, due in part to our generally bad diets. Once you turn 18, you should have your cholesterol levels checks every five years, and more often if you are at risk for heart attacks or have a family history of poor cholesterol health. If you are concerned about your cholesterol levels, one option you have is to purchase and use a self-testing kit. These kits are available at your local pharmacy or through your doctor, and when used correctly they can help you monitor the changes in you blood cholesterol levels, especially if you are making extreme lifestyle changes in order to help yourself get back to a healthy cholesterol level.

Before you test your own cholesterol, research the many options you have. First, you need to learn a little about cholesterol levels and what they tell you about your health. There are three or more different cholesterol readings that your doctor takes to review your health. HDL cholesterol, commonly called "good cholesterol" is one type, and your levels of this kind of cholesterol should be 40 or higher. On the other hand, LDL cholesterol, commonly called "bad cholesterol" should be kept lower, at 130 for those in good health with no family history of heart attacks or stroke and at 100 or lower if your family does have a history of heart attacks or stroke. Your cholesterol report may include other numbers as well, but these are the two most important ones to monitor.

However, most home testing kits only give you a total cholesterol reading. This number should be under 200 and includes not only HDL and LDL numbers, but other considerations as well. Therefore, you may suffer from high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol, but the total number shows a cholesterol level that is fine. This can be very misleading. Some self-testing kits are now adding other reading options to make this process easier, but if you aren't knowledgeable about the many different kinds of cholesterol, this can be confusing.

Be sure to follow the directions to your self-testing kit very carefully. When done correctly, this method of testing your cholesterol is as accurate as if it had been done at a doctor's office or hospital. Remember that some companies have better products than others, so do your research on each kit available on the market. You will be required to prick your finger to test your cholesterol, so if blood makes you squeamish, this may not be a good option for you. In the end, home testing kits cannot replace analysis by a health care professional, so make an appointment with your family doctor if you expect your cholesterol levels to be unhealthy.

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