Are home cholesterol monitors worth bu... - Cholesterol Support

Cholesterol Support
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Are home cholesterol monitors worth buying?

Aliwally
Aliwally

Does anybody have experience of using a cholesterol monitoring device at home? They are similar to the blood glucose monitors and apparently the newer ones can measure HDL, LDL and triglycerides.

20 Replies
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Hi Traci,

That was quick! Just done a little research which says they are about 95% accurate, but I suppose they are trying to sell them. I test my blood glucose from time to time and always do a fasting one.

Actually, I had my cholesterol levels tested at two different hospitals a month apart , one was 5.6 and the other 4.6 which is quite a difference. I have been told that different labs will give different results. The main difference was in HDL levels.

I'm consued by Traci's consultant's view: yes, levels change and fasting tests are the more reliable, but why would that make these a bad buy? I could take regular fasting readings at a consistent time - instead of whatever time the hospital queue takes on whatever day I can get to the hospital.

Welcome to the blog DakCB-UK. I am still dilly dallying about buying one. They are quite expensive and I am worried about the amount of my blood they need! I have a home glucose monitor and that is only a finger prick!

Levels do vary between hospital labs as well so I'm not sold on the inaccuracy problem.

Thanks Aliwally. Glad to be here. How expensive is a decent one? I'm considering getting a few extra cholesterol readings because I've added much more oatbran to my diet recently. I was looking at the single-use over-the-counter test kits but the reviews of them are often scathing. I didn't know monitors existed. See - I'm already benefitting from being here!

One complication I have: despite (or because of?) decades of blood tests, I really hate needles! I'm not sure I can bring myself to break my own skin intentionally!

I only knew about them because I watch late night drama on ITV3 (sad, I know!) which is sponsored by a well known pharmacy. It's because I find self monitoring of blood glucose so useful that the idea occurred to me that I could do the same with cholesterol levels.

TC monitors are about £40 -£60 but ones that measure LDL etc are £100 plus. As with glucose monitoring it's the strips that are expensive and you need different stips to measure HDL, LDL and triglycerides.

Don't bother with the single use ones. They cost nearly £10, you need a huge amount of blood that has to be dripped on and the colours are indistinguishable!

Research continuing.

There is a good video clip on You Tube by Dr Chris Steele which shows you how to use the Lloyds Pharmacy one.

The amount of blood doesn't look too enormous!

Hi DakCB-UK,

I have taken the plunge and bought myself a monitor. Very easy to use and I am experimenting.

I read that Dr Chris Steele is now an ambassador for HEART UK as he also has high cholesterol.

Hi Aliwally. Maybe worth a blog once you've done a few experiments? I'm sure many people would be interested in the results.

I wouldn't know Dr Chris Steele from a hole in the ground and him working for Lloyds Pharmacy doesn't start me off with a good opinion (they're everywhere here and most branches are pretty useless, the Tescopoly of pharmacies). I searched for him and he appears to be a daytime TV doctor. Hmmmm.

I used to watch Dr Chris in my Richard and Judy days when my children were very little. He is very sympathetic and down to earth, a bit like Dr Rosemary on BBC Breakfast ! I think it's just because I prefer TV doctors to real ones!

On a serious note, I have stopped taking statins for a bit because I have had some swelling and joint pain in my fingers and I want to see if stopping makes any difference and how long It will take for my levels to go up.

I should say that I don't have FH, I know precisely what my risks are and I am doing this entirely off my own back.

I bought a Lloyds cholesterol monitor about 12 months ago.Fasting test readings over this period varied between 4.0 and 4.9. Had a checkup recently, did a fasting test at 8 am and had a test at the surgery an hour later. Lloyds monitor said 3.5 proper test was 6.5!!!

Have returned monitor to Lloyds who refunded the cost.

My advice. DON'T RELY ON THIS TO MONITOR YOUR CHOLESTEROL

Well done for getting your money back...I should have done the same. There is a well known TV doctor who advertises these. The sticks are very expensive and difficult to use. No I would not recommend them to a friend.

So far my Doctors are advised to observe 12 hours fast. Only water can drink during fasting hours..

Another thing I would like to highlight here that blood glucose checking device is available at very low rate while lipidprofile(cholestrol) checking device is very costly. Why not possible to reduce cost so that many people will buy cholestrol checking device and check at home, if price is slashed drastically.

sandybrown
sandybrown
in reply to vppillai

Hello,

Home testing kit and testing strips can be very expensive. You need a second person to collect the blood in the strip for testing. In the chemists at a cost of £10.00 cholesterol testing can be done, an indication only. Full blood test by NHS is the best. I have been testing my blood every six months for the last three years to make sure blood sugar (Hba1C), this is the test now used for diabetic check's now days. Blood can be taken any time of the day therefore non fasting, cholesterol also the same.

When I first started blood tests it has always been a overnight fasting, blood collected in the morning.

After 7PM nothing to eat or drink, blood collection for testing between 7 & 10 AM.

There are expensive cholesterol checks kit for home use with printers and this device give both blood glucose and cholesterol numbers.

Hello All,

I am a medical biochemist and measure cholesterol levels and the like for a living. The cholesterol monitors for home use (called Point of Care or POC Testing) are very good for indication purposes and will highlight whether or not you may need to take further action. You should never rely on one result alone though as there will always be variability between measurements (that is completely normal and nothing to worry about). If you are getting consistently high readings then maybe its time to do something about it either via lifestyle changes or speaking to your doctor.

Total Cholesterol can be measured relatively cheaply with a home monitor. LifestyleCheck.co.uk sell the EasyTouch GC monitor (does glucose too) for £44.99 with replacement test strips for £14.99 (pack of 10). Fasting beforehand is NOT required for Total Cholesterol as its level is unaffected by your immediate diet.

Your doctor may ask you to fast before a cholesterol test because they usually request a "lipid profile" - meaning they will look at all of the different lipids (fats) within your blood. This will include your Triglycerides - which can be affected by what you have eaten before the test. The Total Cholesterol doesn't measure Triglyceride and therefore you don't need to fast.

It is true that a lipid profile allows the doctor a more accurate picture of what is going on from which they may diagnose or prescribe from. POC monitors that measure the individual lipids in your blood i.e. the good cholesterol HDL and bad cholesterol LDL are very expensive at present. However, it does start to get tricky trying to interpret it all.

My advise is to stick with Total Cholesterol for home measurements - this is easy to do and quite affordable. It will flag up if you are potentially at risk and then you can do something about it. If you are concerned by your result let the doc do a lipid profile and let him or her decipher the test results and advise from there on.

LifestyelCheck.co.uk has online courses teaching you about cholesterol and also a results analyser to help you determine what your cholesterol result means. There are also links to trusted experts such as HEART UK to help improve your cholesterol through lifestyle changes.

I hope you have found this post useful.

Matt

Wow, that's a long thread. Lifestylecheck's is probably the best answer. The one that seems to have been missed is, there's a danger of any home check device (pulse rate, blood sugar, blood pressure etc) you can get paranoid and too focussed. They are a GUIDE only. At the same time my manometer from that company is pretty good, and checks out very well with my GP's version, we calibrated them together one day. Allow for variation and don't take the readings as gospel. My general experience is the professionals look sceptically on them. :)

Check products from Mission 3 in 1 and Accutrend !

amazon.co.uk/Mission-mmissi...

As nico13 already mentioned, Mission 3 in 1 and Accutrend are more reliable brands in a market full of not very reliable products. We always get great reviews on our Mission 3 in 1 meters and accutrend test strips.

The 3-in-1 meter can – with the unique 3-in-1 teststrip – calculate the total cholesterol, HDL and triglycerides in your blood. These three values are used to determine your LDL and cholesterol ratios. This cholesterol meter is also very user friendly with its big display.

For more information (also product manuals), you can check our website testingathome.co.uk

I bought recently a Mission 3 - in - 1 Cholesterol Meter and I must say I was taken aback by its accuracy. I have tried other meters before, but this one convinced me because my cholesterol levels were measured correctly and it is very easy to use. I hope my experience with this meter helps others to find the right product since I know it is not easy to find a good meter. :)

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