Cholesterol Self Test

How Does the Test Work?

When self-testing your cholesterol, you prick your finger with a lancet to get a drop of blood. Then, put the drop of blood on a piece of paper that contains special chemicals. The paper will change color, depending on how much cholesterol is in your blood. Some cholesterol self testing kits use a small machine to tell you how much cholesterol is in the sample.
 

What Does It Measure?

Most of the cholesterol self tests on the market measure only total cholesterol in the blood, but some of these tests have been approved for testing total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides. Read the box carefully to learn what the specific test is actually testing.
 

Limits of a Cholesterol Self Test

In most cases, cholesterol self testing only measures total cholesterol. Total cholesterol levels can be misleading, because a person can have a healthy total cholesterol level and still have either a low HDL level or a high LDL level. Therefore, most cholesterol treatment decisions are based on HDL and LDL cholesterol levels, not total cholesterol. So, consider the total cholesterol level to be an overview number.
 
A total cholesterol level over 240 is high, a level between 200 and 239 is borderline, and a total cholesterol level under 200 is a healthy level of cholesterol. If your total cholesterol is higher than 240, your risk for heart disease and stroke is higher.
 
Total Cholesterol Level
Total Cholesterol Category
Less than 200 mg/dL
Desirable
200–239 mg/dL
Borderline high
240 mg/dL and above
High
 
(Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams [mg] of cholesterol per deciliter [dL] of blood.)
 
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