Worried about your cholesterol levels? Like to try testing yourself at home, instead of running to the doctor? Wondering if home test kits work?

The Federal Drug Administration has approved home cholesterol test kits that can help you monitor your cholesterol blood levels on a regular basis in only minutes.

We know: 1 Minute Lesson: Cholesterol Home Tests

Whatís cholesterol and why should I measure it?

Cholesterol is fat in your blood. Good cholesterol is called HDL and helps protect your heart. Bad cholesterol is called LDL and can clog your arteries and promote heart disease.

Whatís a normal measure of cholesterol?

Your total cholesterol level should be 200mg/dL or less. You should try to keep your HDL level at 40 mg/dL or higher and your LDL level at 100 mg/dL or less.

Are home tests accurate?

They are about as accurate as the tests used at the doctorís office, provided you follow the instructions. You can also find out more about a home test kitís accuracy by reading the label.

How does a home test kit work?

You prick your finger and place a drop of blood on a piece of paper that contains special chemicals. The paper changes color, depending on the amount of cholesterol in your blood. Some kits come with a small device that can tell you how much cholesterol there is in the sample.

How specific do the tests get?

Some kits can tell you the HDL level in your blood. There are also kits that will give you a reading of your tryglyceride level, which is another type of fat in the blood.

How often should I test and what if my reading is high?

If you're over age 20, you should test about every 5 years. If you are on a special diet or drugs to control your cholesterol, your doctor may want you to test more often. If your cholesterol reading is over 200 mg/dL, see your doctor.

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