Magazine article Newsweek

This Is Only a Test

Magazine article Newsweek

This Is Only a Test

Article excerpt

Byline: Adapted from the Harvard Heart Letter health.harvard.edu

If you don't mind pricking your finger, you can instantly check your cholesterol at home. It's definitely faster than visiting your doctor, but it's probably not better.

The home-test kits approved by the Food and Drug Administration should be just as accurate as a laboratory. But it's easy to throw off the tests if you don't follow the directions exactly--squeezing the blood out of your finger can alter results, for example, because only a fraction of whole blood comes through the skin. And even when the reading is accurate, it may not be very useful. Kits like CholesTrak, Home Access Instant Cholesterol Test or First Check Home Cholesterol Test measure only total cholesterol. Sure, that's interesting information. But it isn't enough to assess your cardiovascular health. To do that, the tests would need to distinguish between LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, and HDL, or the "good" kind, numbers you need to really understand your cholesterol. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.