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Cholesterol test kits: Are they accurate?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol-test-kits/AN01461
- With Mayo Clinic cardiologist
Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D., Ph.D.read biographyclose window
Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D., Ph.D.Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D.
Dr. Thomas Behrenbeck is a native of Germany, where he received his medical education at the Westfalian Wilhelm University in Munster and became board certified in internal medicine and cardiology.
He also received a Ph.D. in biophysics and physiology at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Behrenbeck joined the Mayo Clinic staff in 1990 and is currently an associate professor at Mayo Medical School and an academic faculty member at the Westfalian Wilhelm University. He is the past chair of the Cardiovascular Medicine & Surgery NetWork of the American College of Chest Physicians.
Dr. Behrenbeck is a noninvasive cardiologist, specializing in cardiovascular (CV) imaging modalities (echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and CT), coronary artery disease and prevention of coronary artery disease. His research interests are the application of imaging technology to early recognition and treatment of atherosclerosis. He is passionate about patients' involvement in their health issues.
"The Internet and patient education present ideal synergies in the ever-growing field of knowledge in cardiology," he says.
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Cholesterol test kits: Are they accurate?
Are home cholesterol test kits accurate?
from Thomas Behrenbeck, M.D., Ph.D.
Home cholesterol test kits don't substitute for a cholesterol test performed by medical professionals. The accuracy of home cholesterol test kits varies, and results can't offer a complete picture of your risk of developing heart disease.
Home cholesterol test kits are widely available. Many cholesterol test kits measure only total cholesterol. But a few also measure high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides — a type of fat found in the blood. Although home cholesterol testing seems fast and easy, it's important to regard the results with caution.
Even when cholesterol testing is done by trained professionals in a lab, your test results can vary. The variability may be even greater with home cholesterol test kits, especially if you're not fasting when you take the test, or if you don't precisely follow the directions.
Remember, cholesterol management requires more than simply measuring your cholesterol numbers. It's important to consider other factors — such as family history, smoking and high blood pressure — when deciding how to maintain your heart's health. Your doctor can help you figure out how to best manage your cholesterol.Next question
Cholesterol ratio: Is it important?
- Ross J. Home test measures total cholesterol. The Nurse Practitioner. 2003;28:52.
- How to get your cholesterol tested. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/SymptomsDiagnosisMonitoringofHighCholesterol/How-To-Get-Your-Cholesterol-Tested_UCM_305595_Article.jsp. Accessed Feb. 8, 2013.
- Medical devices: Cholesterol. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/InVitroDiagnostics/HomeUseTests/ucm125686.htm. Accessed Feb. 8, 2013.
- Surabattula D, et al. Usability of home cholesterol test kits and how their results impact patients' decisions. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics. 2009;39:167.