Doctors’ now recommend that everyone over the age of 20 should have their cholestrol tested. If going to the doctor is too much of a hassle, you can now purchase an over-the-counter cholestrol test that can be done at home. Some of the newer tests are even able to provide a more accurate reading on your LDL and HDL levels, then before.
When getting your cholestrol tested it’s important to remember to fast for at least 9-12 hours before you’re scheduled to take the test. You can drink water, coffee and tea but with no sugar or cream in it. Whether at home or at your primary physician’s office all tests use blood to check your cholestrol levels.
If using an at home test that came in a kit, there will be a finger pricker. The instructions are easy enough to follow and can be performed at any time or place. Make sure you have a watch or timer that can be used to time the test. Before using the finger pricker wash your hands with soap and water, and then massage them to increase blood flow. The finger pricker is a one time use only, so make sure you are ready. When you’re ready to start prick your fingertip with the pricker. Inside the finger pricker is a needle that will draw blood and retract back into the pricker.
In the kit came a test with a designated area for you to drop your blood on. Squeeze your finger over the correct spot onto the test and then follow the rest of the directions. Once you have finished the test check your readings with your doctor, if you have any questions. Some home tests will be able to tell you your total cholestrol and HDL while others will just tell you your total level.
The at home cholestrol tests are fairly cheap and can be bought at almost any drugstore. Some common brands are Cardiochek, Home Access, Q-Steps and First Check, all ranging in pricing for $20.00 or less. When buying an at home test if you have any questions, talk to the pharmacist before deciding to purchase one.
If you opted to go to your doctor’s to have the test done they’ll use a needle to draw out the blood. The procedure is simple and takes only minutes. By wrapping an elastic band around your arm, the nurse is able to swell a vein and take a sample. Having the test done at your doctor’s is better then just doing an at home kit. At your doctor’s you can discuss what your readings mean, what steps you will need to take to reduce your cholestrol and what medications you might need if your readings are high.