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Preventing Heart Disease: Managing Your Cholesterol Levels

It is important to understand the role of cholesterol in the body. While it is often associated with negative health outcomes, cholesterol plays a crucial role in digestion, hormone production, and vitamin D absorption. However, excess cholesterol can be problematic. At-home cholesterol tests provide accurate results about cholesterol levels without visiting a doctor or a lab.

These tests give a better understanding of the types of cholesterol in the blood: low-density lipoprotein (LDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and triglycerides.

Spencer Kroll, a cholesterol and lipid disease expert, suggests that healthy adults check their cholesterol every three to five years, while patients who have heart disease, diabetes, or a family history of high cholesterol should have their cholesterol checked once a year.

There are two types of cholesterol: blood cholesterol and dietary cholesterol. Blood cholesterol is naturally produced by the liver and is necessary for good health, while dietary cholesterol comes from food and drinks such as meat, seafood, and dairy products.

There are different ways to measure cholesterol at home, such as by using on-the-spot test strips or an electronic meter. Alternatively, laboratory-based at-home cholesterol tests offer a mail-in blood sample kit with instructions. Results can vary depending on the company and lab, with some ready within two to five days and others taking a week or more.

High cholesterol can lead to serious health problems, and signs of high cholesterol may include yellowing of the skin and small bumps on the body. Other risk factors for high cholesterol include family history, age, and physical activity.

At-home cholesterol tests are a great option for those who want to check their cholesterol levels on their own time. These tests can be especially important for those who are obese or diabetic or who have a family history of high cholesterol or heart attacks. Kits are often available at local pharmacies or online and can range in cost from around $50 to over $100, depending on the brand.