When it comes to staying healthy, maintaining your heart health is key — but this task can seem overwhelming. There’s so much to know about what is best for your heart.
One of the main ways to protect your heart is to understand your cholesterol. Since your cholesterol is directly related to your heart health, watching your cholesterol levels is important.
Learning how to check your cholesterol accurately at home can become a vital tool for supporting your health. Having at-home tests can give you the peace of mind you deserve and help you make the best-informed choices about your diet and routine.
At iwi life, we want you to be prepared to crush your wellness goals, whatever they may be. That’s why we want to walk you through how to check your cholesterol at home so you can feel confident about getting that vital information for your health whenever you need it.
This guide will offer a few ways to help you better manage your overall heart health.
Understanding Your Cholesterol
What is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a certain type of waxy fat that your body makes. It’s an important part of your health because the body uses it to build hormones like testosterone and thyroid hormone, so while it is not itself a harmful substance, some people have higher levels than are considered healthy.
Learning what cholesterol is and how your diet can contribute to high cholesterol is important for your long-term heart health. As you probably already know, high cholesterol can significantly impact your health, increasing your risk of stroke and heart disease.
Do You Need an At-Home Cholesterol Test?
Maybe you want to avoid a trip to the doctor’s or learn how to incorporate managing your cholesterol levels into your daily routine. At-home cholesterol test kits are a great solution to finding out if your numbers are within the healthy range.
At-home cholesterol kits are sold at pharmacies or online and allow you to read your cholesterol without having to go into a doctor’s office.
What Should I Know About Measuring Cholesterol Levels?
Once you have your cholesterol at-home kit, the next step is to know how to use it and understand it for your heart health.
Before you can do that, you want to be comfortable with the terminology regarding cholesterol and what makes it good versus bad cholesterol. You may also want to know about the several measurements taken in a traditional cholesterol test.
Let’s discuss the difference between “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is considered “bad” cholesterol and might be what you think about when you think about cholesterol. It’s a bad type of fat that clogs up your blood vessels and increases your risk of heart disease. VLDL (very low density lipoprotein) is a precursor to LDL, and is a second form of “bad” cholesterol.
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL), on the other hand, is good cholesterol. HDL works to lower the amount of LDL in your system by transporting it to your liver for removal. HDL actually works to clear up your arteries, so finding ways to incorporate more of it is especially important.
A traditional cholesterol test at a doctor’s office will also give you information about triglycerides. This can be helpful even though triglycerides are not a type of cholesterol. That’s because they are constituents of a lipoprotein that can increase your risk of heart disease.
So, how do these tests measure your cholesterol? The main measurement taken is your total cholesterol levels. This measurement adds up the good and bad cholesterol in your system so you can learn how the two compare against each other.
The test will also measure your good and bad cholesterol individually. Lastly, it also measures your non-HDL, which means all the different bad cholesterol. This means it’s a measurement of your total cholesterol minus the HDL level, including LDL and another type of cholesterol called very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL).
Measuring Your Cholesterol Levels With At-Home Kits
It’s always important to have annual checkups with your doctor, especially if you are worried about your heart health. But sometimes, health care can be expensive, and if you want to know how your blood cholesterol levels are looking on a more frequent basis, going to the doctor’s office for a formal blood test and lipid panel might not always be a practical solution.
There are two main types of at-home tests. The first type is the actual cholesterol test which is done by pricking your finger and drawing a small amount of blood. This can be a helpful method because it’s efficient, and you can get your results quickly.
The other kind of at-home test is very similar to the first one. You still prick your finger and collect your blood sample, except this time, you send it off in a kit to a lab. The lab will analyze your results and send them back to you. A company called imaware is one great option for at-home testing that only requires a few drops of blood.
Are Cholesterol At-Home Tests Reliable?
Wondering if these at-home cholesterol tests are too good to be true? That’s a valid question, so let’s ease some of your doubts.
Both of these at-home tests are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. But it’s important to remember that there is more room for human error, and at-home tests you do yourself only provide a measurement of total cholesterol.
Even though that number can be accurate, it won’t tell you how much good and bad cholesterol is in your blood unless it is sent to an external lab.
Sample test results are also quite accurate because the actual testing is done in a lab. You just want to remember that you read the directions carefully and tested properly, so you can get the most accurate results from the sample you send off.
What Are the Pros of Cholesterol At-Home Tests?
At iwi life, we are all about efficiency and helping you get back to your life. If you want to know about the highlights of both types of cholesterol at-home tests, we’ve got you covered.
These tests are readily available at most pharmacies, so you don’t have to worry about booking an appointment. Essentially, these tests can be a helpful addition to learning more about your cholesterol levels, but they are not the only solution.
If done well, these tests can provide a full picture of your cholesterol levels, and you don’t have to go into a doctor’s office to take them. You can start to learn what changes you can make in your daily life to start making the necessary changes for your heart health.
What Are the Cons of Cholesterol At-Home Tests?
Although the at-home cholesterol tests come with various pros and can help you learn about your cholesterol levels in your day-to-day life, it’s important to be aware of the cons as well. More than anything, it’s important to check in with your doctor about what is best for you.
There are some limitations to this test. It will only give you a measurement of your total cholesterol levels. It doesn’t break down HDL or LDL levels unless it is sent to an external lab, so it doesn’t give you a full picture of how healthy you are or how at-risk you are.
Watching Your Cholesterol With iwi life Supplements
But what happens when you finally do know your cholesterol levels? If they are not to your liking, you'll want to have a plan that includes lifestyle and dietary changes and nutritional support.
Not only did we want to guide you on what you need to know about at-home cholesterol tests, but also what to do after. That’s why we created our algae omega-3 supplements that can help support your heart health.
Omega-3 supplements, in particular from plant-based sources like algae, can potentially help maintain your cholesterol numbers that are already within the normal range.
Better living starts with us at iwi life. Let us give you the helping hand you deserve. Come check out our supplements designed for your heart health.
Supporting Your Heart Health With iwi life
We know how much you care about your heart health, and we care about it too. Looking for new ways to incorporate heart-healthy habits into your life can seem daunting, but starting slow can go a long way.
At-home tests, like those offered by imaware, can be a helpful tool in managing your levels on a day-to-day basis. But even better, you now know what to do after these tests. At iwi life, we want to help you on your journey in supporting your heart health, whether it’s providing you with the information you need on how to make the best-informed choices or creating supplements that can give you the protection you need and deserve for better living.