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Home Tests for High Cholesterol or High Blood Sugar

Patients curious about how well their cholesterol-control regimens are working could use home tests for high cholesterol to monitor their progress.
Home Tests for High Cholesterol or High Blood Sugar
Cholesterol and triglycerides strips over a blue background

Trying to second-guess your doctor is not necessarily a good idea. Still, if you want to follow your health more closely than occasional doctor visits allow, you may want to know about reliable tests that can be done at home. This reader is interested in two possible health problems for which home tests are readily available:

Q. I recently had to see my doctor to get a prescription renewed. While I was there, I asked about getting a diabetes and cholesterol test. He said, “I can see just by looking at you that you don’t need those.”

I can’t help wondering whether his approach is a bit cavalier. Could he really tell by looking at me?

A. The doctor probably was using your general appearance of fitness to suggest that you are less likely than many others to suffer from a chronic health condition. All the same, it is impossible to tell whether someone has high cholesterol or elevated blood glucose just from the way they look. Even lean people who exercise can have diabetes or heart disease.

Home Tests for High Cholesterol or High Blood Sugar

You can test yourself for either of these conditions. Consumer Reports On Health (September, 2015) recommends the CheckUp American Cholesterol Panel Test Kit. It runs about $40 from Walgreens and provides total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol. You send the blood sample in and results are returned in about three days.

For blood sugar, consider the Up & Up Blood Glucose Meter from Target or the ReliOn Micro from WalMart. They run about $15 and a pack of test strips costs around $10.

If any of your test results come back out of the expected range, you will need to discuss them with your doctor. Though type 2 diabetes and elevated cholesterol can sometimes be managed with diet and exercise, medications may also be helpful. Closer monitoring will also be essential.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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