Test your cholesterol levels at home? Is it future or fiction? Traditionally, blood testing has required driving, waiting rooms, appointment setting, fasting, and follow-ups. All costing on average the US consumer between $500 - $1000 out of pocket.
Many people don’t consider the costs of driving, waiting, time off work, doctor's prescription, and follow-ups. Sure the lab itself might be cheap but the indirect costs add up - quickly.
Did you know that an estimated 88 million American adults, or nearly 1 in 3, have high cholesterol?
This dangerous condition can lead to heart disease and stroke, among the top causes of death in the United States.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to test your cholesterol levels at home. You can easily order and perform these tests yourself using kits you can find online or at pharmacies near you. The results will be an accurate snapshot of your current cholesterol levels, and you’ll have them without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home!
Think of cholesterol as a brick wall between your cells. It is a waxy, fatty substance that helps your body build cell membranes and produce hormones.
As you eat more and exercise less, cholesterol levels in your blood increase. If you have too much cholesterol for too long, or if there are other factors in play, that brick wall can become damaged. It may eventually break down enough to let free radicals (unstable oxygen molecules) into your cells.
The result? Chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
If you’re trying to test your cholesterol levels at home, try getting started by reading these articles on what cholesterol is and how it affects health?
Health care professionals measure cholesterol in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L). A reading of 200 mg/dL is higher than average, while a reading of 100 mg/dL is lower than average.
Higher readings aren’t necessarily a cause for alarm if your overall health is good. But you may want to consider lifestyle changes that can reduce levels and make your heart healthier. Sometimes it may be necessary to take medication or even get medical treatment if you have high levels over time.
The cholesterol found in the blood is not the same as cholesterol in food.
The body needs some cholesterol, but it should be kept under control because high levels can lead to a buildup of plaque that narrows or blocks blood vessels.
Plaque buildup inside arteries can cause chest pain (angina), heart attack, and stroke—all of which are dangerous health issues. For those who don't have any serious symptoms from high cholesterol yet, however, it's not too late to act!
There are many ways you can check your own cholesterol levels at home using simple tests you can do with items found around the house. We'll show you how to do at home cholesterol tests below.
There are several ways you can test your cholesterol levels from home. You can use Lab Me, which is a network of CAP and CLIA certified laboratories around America that can analyze your blood and give you beautiful online results that are simple to understand.
Typically it takes 3-5 days for the test to arrive at your door and 3-5 days to return to the lab. Once the lab receives your sample - you can expect results on your dashboard or via PDF within 48 hours.
Through Lab Me, you can also have a lab assistant deliver kits for cholesterol screening to your house so you don’t even have to leave! To learn more about using Lab Me for cholesterol screening, click here.
Although there is no perfect way to test your cholesterol at home, there are ways you can ensure that you have accurate results. To start, make sure that you are using reliable testing kits. This means ensuring that your hands are clean and free of any lotions or creams when testing so that you get an accurate reading.
Now that you know how to test your cholesterol levels in a way that will yield reliable results, it’s time to talk about accuracy. If you have concerns about any of these numbers or are looking for more specific guidance, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. While there are ways to get accurate home cholesterol screening results and even track changes over time with these tests, it is important to understand that these tests are designed for exploratory & screening purposes only.
You can read more about at-home lab testing accuracy here.
If you’re over age 20, your total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL. Below 200 mg/dL is even better—the closer you are to 170 mg/dL, the lower your risk of heart disease.
A healthy HDL level for men is above 40 mg/dL; for women, it’s 50 mg/dL or higher. If your HDL number is below 40 (or 50), try an exercise regimen that emphasizes cardio and strength training as a way to get healthy.
This will increase HDL while reducing LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. Blood pressure should also be within the normal range (110-120/70-80). If it isn’t, work with your doctor on developing a plan to get it there safely.
It’s recommended that you have your cholesterol levels checked every 5 years after age 20, but if you fall within a higher risk category for heart disease, be sure to talk with your doctor about getting tested more frequently.
The factors that can raise your risk include being overweight or obese, having diabetes, high blood pressure, and a family history of heart disease.
High LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) is another major risk factor; as is smoking or having high triglycerides—another type of fat found in the blood. Ask your doctor what you can do if you have any of these additional health risks.
It’s best not to wait until symptoms develop before making changes—heart disease doesn’t always come with warning signs like chest pain or shortness of breath.
You may be tested every few years if your levels are normal, or more often if you have risk factors such as a family history of heart disease.
Some health experts recommend quarterly testing for people who have cholesterol levels above certain thresholds. For example, if your total cholesterol is over 240 mg/dL, you may need to have it checked at least once per year. This can ensure that you’re getting proper treatment and make sure there aren’t any concerning changes in your cholesterol readings that merit attention.
However, if you are serious about your health and trying to improve - it's recommended to get a good game plan that is simple and easy to follow (diet, supplements, and/or exercise) and test every 3 months.
If you are confused about what you need to do to improve your blood work - you can consult with our integrative health practitioners. We even take HSA and can super bill insurance if you are approved.
Lab Me has a variety of cholesterol tests you can take from home.
Our most popular and affordable test (biomarkers vs price) is the Baseline At-Home Health Test.
It tests the following for $99:
If you are looking for a cheaper option you can use our Crucial At-Home Health Test. It looks at the following biomarkers for $69:
If you want to see the difference between the top 3 at-home blood testing companies and their pricing you can do so here.