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Several companies market at-home cholesterol tests for people who want to check their cholesterol levels. These tests may be beneficial for those who cannot visit a doctor’s clinic. However, people may still consider seeking medical help if they receive positive results.

This article explores what cholesterol is, how to choose a reliable home test kit, which kits are available to purchase online, and when to contact a doctor.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that travels through the bloodstream in the form of lipoproteins. It helps the body by:

  • generating vitamin D
  • producing bile acids that help the body absorb nutrients and digest fat
  • producing hormones

The body produces cholesterol naturally. However, cholesterol is also present in foods, including:

  • processed meats
  • full fat dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
  • seafood, such as octopus and prawn

There are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Cholesterol tests also measure triglycerides, which are a form of fat in certain foods.

LDL

LDL, or “bad cholesterol,” makes up most of the body’s cholesterol.

When a person has high LDL levels, the cholesterol builds up in their blood vessels, causing them to narrow. This prevents blood from flowing, which in turn increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

High LDL levels can result in:

Learn more about high cholesterol here.

HDL

HDL, or “good cholesterol,” collects the bad cholesterol from the arteries and carries it back to the liver so that the body can get rid of it.

The American Heart Association (AHA) states that HDL may protect people against heart attack and stroke by preventing excess cholesterol from entering the arteries.

Triglycerides

A lipid profile also measures triglycerides. These are common types of fat that people get from foods such as butter and oils. The body changes these calories into triglycerides and stores them in fat cells. It then releases them when it needs energy.

According to the AHA, people with high triglyceride levels and high LDL may also have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

At-home cholesterol tests are a convenient way for people to test their cholesterol levels without making an appointment with a healthcare professional.

Types

There are two types of at-home cholesterol tests:

  • Self-collection: A person can use test strips that measure cholesterol levels. A person needs to add a drop of blood to the strip and read the color change. They can also buy an electronic meter, where, after adding a drop of blood on a test strip, they insert it into the meter and read the results.
  • Lab-based: People receive their home test kit with all the tools they need, such as alcohol swabs, collection tubes, and pre-addressed envelopes. Once they collect their blood sample, they can send it to a laboratory, where a healthcare professional performs the test.

Reliability

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), at-home cholesterol tests are as accurate as tests doctors provide in a clinic. The FDA recommends people follow the manufacturer’s instructions to help avoid inaccurate results.

The FDA does note that at-home tests that say they are “traceable” to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may be more accurate than others.

When to test

According to the CDC, people aged 20 or older and who have a low risk of cardiovascular disease should undergo a cholesterol test every 5 years.

However, doctors may recommend regular high cholesterol screening for people with:

  • a family history of heart attack and high cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • hypertension

The CDC state that cholesterol levels should be as follows:

  • total cholesterol levels: less than 200 milligrams (mg) per deciliter (dl)
  • LDL cholesterol: less than 100 mg/dl
  • HDL cholesterol: greater than or equal to 60 mg/dl
  • triglycerides: less than 150 mg/dl

There are several at-home cholesterol tests that are available to purchase online.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.

LetsGetChecked Cholesterol Test

LetsGetChecked offers a finger prick cholesterol test and states it may suit people with:

LetsGetChecked has an instructional video on its website that explains how a person should collect the sample. The company suggests a person do it before 10 a.m. and before they have breakfast.

LetsGetChecked offers a one-time purchase and a subscription plan for those who require regular cholesterol testing.

It states that its laboratories are CLIA-approved and are part of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) program.

People should receive their results within 2–5 days. Additionally, they can contact a LetsGetChecked nurse at any time to discuss their results.

Everlywell Cholesterol & Lipids Test

Everlywell offers a finger prick sample collection that measures:

  • total cholesterol levels
  • HDL
  • calculated LDL
  • triglycerides

After purchasing the home kit with all the tools needed, a person can register it on the Everlywell website. There, they need to include their order’s identification number. Then, once they collect their sample, they can send it to one of the Everlywell testing facilities.

The company claims that it works with laboratories with Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certification. This means that these laboratories have obtained federal certifications.

People should receive their results on the Everlywell online platform. They may receive tips and additional resources to help them understand their results.

myLAB Box At Home Cholesterol and Lipids Test

myLAB Box offers a finger prick collection method. This FDA-registered entity states that it works with CAP and CLIA-certified labs.

The company offers free 2-day shipping on home kits. Once people collect their blood samples, they should receive their results within 2–5 days.

myLAB Box states that people do not need to fast or adjust their diet before collecting their samples. It recommends that people still take any prescription medication until they discuss the test results with a doctor.

A person may also book a consultation with a myLAB Box physician if they receive a positive result.

People who receive a positive cholesterol test result should consider seeking medical advice. A doctor can help a person interpret their results, and suggest the most suitable treatment plan.

Doctors may recommend making lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise, reaching or maintaining a moderate weight, and following a balanced diet.

Learn more about how to lower high cholesterol through lifestyle changes here.

Also, a doctor may prescribe medication such as statins to lower cholesterol levels.

A person who wants to check their cholesterol levels can purchase an at-home test kit. These will come with instructions and all the tools a person needs to collect their sample.

People may purchase a home test from FDA-regulated companies that collaborate with CLIA-certified labs. This indicates that companies have established quality standards for laboratory testing.

People may consider seeking guidance from a doctor if they have other health conditions or a family history of heart disease and high cholesterol. They may need to check their cholesterol levels regularly.