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Some home cholesterol test kits are as accurate as the test your doctor uses, but it often depends on how precisely you follow the directions.
Accuracy also varies from brand to brand. The most accurate test kits may be ones that are affiliated with a tracking program offered through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cholesterol tests that meet the program's criteria for accuracy are considered CDC-certified.
Many home cholesterol test kits measure only total cholesterol. Some also measure high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides — a type of fat found in the blood. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is not measured but is calculated with a formula using the triglycerides, total and HDL cholesterol values.
Remember, cholesterol management requires more than simply measuring your cholesterol numbers. It's important to consider other factors — such as family history, smoking and high blood pressure — when deciding how to maintain your heart's health. Your doctor can help you figure out how to best manage your cholesterol.
Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.
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