ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Home Cholesterol Test

Updated on April 15, 2014

Cholesterol is an essential component in the human body, but too much can pose health problems. If health insurance companies start paying for everyone for cholesterol-related problems in their teenage years, the cost of health care will go up. Learn about cholesterol functions and problems.

Cholesterol is a white, waxy fat that is present in the tissues of humans and other animals and, thus, in all foods from animal sources. Cholesterol is essential for many bodily functions: It is a building block for hormones and for vitamin D; it is a component of the membranes of cells; and it is a part of the insulation sheath around nerve fibers that enables nerves to communicate.

As many people are now aware, abnormal levels of cholesterol carried in the blood - and in particular a high level of LDL, or so-called “bad,” cholesterol - significantly increase the risk for coronary heart disease and heart attack. It is also well established that regulating blood cholesterol to achieve optimal levels can significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Your cholesterol levels, of course, are not the only risk factor for coronary heart disease. Other major risk factors include older age, a family history of premature heart disease, obesity, smoking, high blood pressure, and diabetes; any decision about treating your cholesterol should be made with your doctor taking all risk factors into account. But whatever your other risk factors are, it may be time for you to reevaluate whether you need to lower your cholesterol.

How Cholesterol Contributes to Heart Attacks

Despite its importance to life, cholesterol isn’t an essential nutrient, meaning that the diet does not need to contain cholesterol to meet the body’s requirements. The liver can manufacture all the cholesterol the body needs. Particles called lipoproteins, formed in the liver, transport cholesterol and other fats through the bloodstream. The three lipoproteins are named according to their density: very–low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and high-density lipoprotein (HDL). Most cholesterol is transported by LDL.

The liver secretes VLDL, which is converted to LDL in the bloodstream. The cholesterol on LDL is used to form membranes in cells throughout the body, and it also serves as the starting molecule for the formation of several hormones, such as estrogen, androgen, and cortisol. Deposits of LDL cholesterol in the arterial walls initiate the formation of plaques. As plaques build up, the arterial walls thicken and narrow. Symptoms of coronary heart disease result when an advanced plaque narrows a coronary artery so much that it hinders blood flow to the heart. Plaque deposits also roughen arterial walls and make it easier for a blood clot to form along their surface. Complete blockage of a coronary artery by a clot can cause a heart attack. A portion of a clot can also break loose from its place of origin and cause a heart attack by lodging in a narrower section of the artery or in a smaller artery supplying blood to the heart. HDL also carries cholesterol in the blood; however, HDL has the beneficial capacity to pick up cholesterol from cells and atherosclerotic plaques and bring it back to the liver for reprocessing or excretion. Therefore, HDL cholesterol is often referred to as “good” cholesterol, because it clears cholesterol from the arteries, while LDL cholesterol has been called “bad” because it deposits cholesterol in the arteries. Because elevated cholesterol levels contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, reducing cholesterol levels can help prevent coronary heart disease and heart attacks.

Cholesterol Test

It is suggested that everyone who is 20 years of age or older should have a blood test called a lipid profile (sometimes called a lipoprotein profile) at least once every five years. This test measures blood levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Triglycerides are another type of lipid, which the body uses for energy. Like cholesterol, triglycerides are obtained from food and produced in the liver, and they are transported in the blood by lipoproteins, mostly VLDL. High triglyceride levels are a risk factor for coronary heart disease.

If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure (or if you're worried about having it), you may have been tempted by the many home cholesterol test kits and blood pressure monitors currently on the market. The devices promise quick, accurate results in the privacy of your own home, a boon for busy people who don't like to sit in waiting rooms.

Approved by the FDA in 1993, home cholesterol test generally measures the total fat levels in your blood. A few years ago, some manufacturers also started producing home cholesterol tests that measure high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the "good" cholesterol that protects your heart; low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol which contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries; and triglycerides.

Determine your TOTAL + HDL + LDL Cholesterol Levels at HOME in 5 Minutes

Home Cholesterol Test

To use the cholesterol tests, you prick your finger with a small lancet, put a drop of blood on a piece of paper with chemicals on it, and wait for the results (usually within 10 minutes or so). In some tests, you can tell your results by the color of the paper. In others, your result appears on a small screen -- often within one minute.

The results of home cholesterol tests are about 95% accurate -- very close to the accuracy of a doctor's (or laboratory's) test. Typical home cholesterol test cost between $14 (for the kind that uses paper strips) and $125 (for a hand-held automatic cholesterol device that tests total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides). That is a pretty good deal, as it would save you trips to -- and waiting time at -- the doctor's office or medical laboratory.

Test your cholesterol level - managing undesirable cholesterol levels is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent a heart attack.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)