Are home cholesterol test kits accurate?

Answer From Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.

Some home cholesterol test kits are as accurate as the test a health care professional uses, but the quality of the results often depends on how well you follow the directions.

Accuracy also varies from brand to brand. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a database that lists approved cholesterol tests. It is called the FDA Database of In Vitro Diagnostic Tests. Cholesterol test kits are a type of in vitro test because they use a drop of blood that you get from pricking your finger.

Many home cholesterol test kits measure only total cholesterol. Some also measure high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is not measured. It can be calculated with a formula using the triglyceride and total and HDL cholesterol values.

Remember, cholesterol management requires more than just measuring cholesterol. It's important to consider other factors affecting your heart health, such as family health history, smoking and high blood pressure. If you use a home cholesterol test kit, be sure to discuss the results with your health care team. They can help you figure out how to best manage your cholesterol and maintain your heart's health.


Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, M.D.

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May 23, 2023 See more Expert Answers

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