There’s no getting away from the fact that to love a healthy life, we have to eat healthy food! Of course, nobody is saying a weekly fish and chip dinner is out of the question, but that overdoing it is always going to cause you problems. One of the most common causes of health problems is high cholesterol; you’ve heard of it, without a doubt, but do you know what it means? Here’s quick guide!
Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is largely produced by the liver, and is carried around the body in the blood by proteins. Without going into too much detail, cholesterol is essential to us, and it can also be found in some form in many foods. Now, here’s where it gets confusing: a high cholesterol level in itself will not show any symptoms. However, it has been proven that it has a direct and sometimes profound influence on the onset of heart attack, stroke, narrowing of the arteries and more – all of which are very serious health problems – and this is why we need to keep it in check.
It’s worth knowing there are two types of cholesterol, and for simplicity’s sake we’ll refer to them by their common initials – HDL and LDL: HDL takes the used cholesterol back to the liver where it is processed as waste. LDL takes it from the liver to the cells where it is needed, but can be responsible for delivering too much, which is where the problems begin.
So, after that medical lesson, what can you do about high cholesterol? Well, you can eat healthily – there’s plenty of information on cholesterol-friendly foods on the internet – and give up smoking. Also, if you have a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke or heart disease, you need to have your cholesterol levels checked regularly, which is where this review comes in; we’re going to tell you about the top 10 home cholesterol tests available right now, but before we do, let’s have a look at what they are all about.
How Cholesterol Tests Work
Table of Contents
- 1 How Cholesterol Tests Work
- 2 The Top 10 Best Cholesterol Tests
- 2.1 1: Prima Home Test Kit
- 2.2 2: Care Diagnostica Test Kit
- 2.3 3: Easy Touch Cholesterol Test
- 2.4 4: Prima Multicare-In Diagnostic Device
- 2.5 5: Doctorcall UK Accredited Lab Test
- 2.6 6: SELFCheck Coeliac Test
- 2.7 7: Easylife Cholesterol Strips
- 2.8 8: Napiers Cholesterol Test Kit
- 2.9 9: Prima Home Test 2-in-1
- 2.10 10: Cholesterol Strips for Roche Accutrend
- 3 Important Factors to Consider
- 4 Let’s Wrap It Up!
So, as we’ve seen above, high cholesterol can cause all sorts of nasty problems. In fact, we’ve probably put you off eating anything ever again! That’s a bit of an extreme reaction, but while we advocate a healthy diet – as we said above there are many guides to a healthy diet on line, and they don’t have to be bland and tasteless – and not smoking, we also reckon you should invest in a cholesterol kit. Of course, should you believe you are showing symptoms of any of the health problems mentioned above, you need to contact a doctor or hospital right away, but regular checks with one of these tests can go a long way to warning you in advance that you are carrying too high a level of cholesterol.
How do the kits work? It’s quite simple: as cholesterol is carried by proteins in the blood, a quick blood test can show you easily how much you are producing. Now if that makes you squeamish that’s fair enough, but we’re not talking a full-on injection, but a simple finger-prick. The kits come with full instructions, and are very simple to use.
However, there is one detail we should talk about before we go on: some of these kits are genuine home tests – you take the sample, and a card or other device analyses it quickly and gives you the result. These are a good guide to cholesterol levels, but you might prefer those where you send your sample off, in a pre-paid and provided package, to a laboratory, who will perform a full analysis as part of the package. Naturally, these tend to be more expensive, but we believe they may be a better solution. So, that’s how it all works, now let’s have a look at the best kits on the market.
The Top 10 Best Cholesterol Tests
Our first one is one of the simple types of cholesterol test, and it is a very cheap one. It is typical of the cheaper versions in that you complete the test entirely at home. Now, we’re not saying that this is a bad thing, but that we might prefer to know that a professional had looked at our blood sample and performed an actual analysis. This is, of course, just an opinion, and we have to say this product is popular and has met with many good customer reviews.
This one, thanks to its very nature, does not differentiate between the two different types of cholesterol – HDL and LDL, and here is another possible problem. HDL is, as it has done its job and is essentially being disposed of, known as ‘good’ cholesterol, while LDL, as it can possibly over-deliver, as ‘bad’ cholesterol. We’re not sure that a test that fails to differentiate can give a proper result. Nevertheless, it promises 99% accuracy, is certified by the relevant bodies, and you get two tests, and at less than a tenner it’s good value.
This is another of the finger prick variety that gives you almost instant results thanks to home testing. It comes with the needles, plasters, the testing disk and full instructions, and is very simple to use. In fact, you get your results in under three minutes, so you will know your overall cholesterol level very quickly. Note that is the overall result; as with the above, this one doesn’t tell you anything about your Good and Bad cholesterol levels, so we’re not really sure what it is telling you to do as the two are very different.
With this one you only get one chance at the test – the above model gave you two kits in one package – and although it is simple, we can’t help thinking it might be better to buy one that gives you a back-up in case of a problem, or so you can get better value for money and have a second test later on. Would we buy it? At around £12 it’s not expensive, but is more so than the one above that does the same job and gives you two tests.
We remain in the realm of true home test kits with this one, but it’s a slightly different design to the above two. Instead of pricking with a needle, you get an all-in-one test strip, which you press against the skin to draw the blood. Don’t worry, it’s practically painless! This allows the strip to react to the cholesterol level in the blood, and to change colour to indicate the levels present. It’s a clever system, and one that has proven to be popular with home testers.
However, it suffers from the same problem: you don’t get the good and bad levels separately, just overall cholesterol levels, and from what we have learned, this can be a problem as it means you are not getting a detailed reading. However, it’s easy to use and gives sensible results, comes in a neat package, and you get 10 strips so you can test regularly across a given period, to keep an eye on your levels through the year. At around £25 it is also good value, so if you want a simple and quick cholesterol test for an initial idea of your levels, this could be the one.
Now, this is one that initially had us somewhat confused, although once we got to grips with the rather different instructions, we found it interesting. It works in the usual fashion so you prick the finger and apply the blood drop to the ‘reactive strip’ and you get five of them for more goes. However, it comes with a data chip, which turns the whole kit into what they call the Multicare-In Multiparameter Diagnostic Device. We think this means it’s a cholesterol test, but a little more besides.
So, what does it do that others don’t? Well, it claims to be able to measure your glucose levels as well as cholesterol, but we still see no sign of it being able to give you HDL and LDL levels. To be honest, we liked it as it’s different, but we feel it’s a little but gimmicky overall. You get your results in 30-seconds – which is great, but which also indicated there’s not a lot of depth in the analysis – and it’s around a tenner to buy which is good value so the choice is yours!
We should remind you that, if your test shows a high cholesterol level, it is important to see a professional for further advice, and this kit actually encourages you to do so, which impressed us. This one is a little different: you perform the usual pin prick and collect the blood sample – that much is as usual – but you then put it in a specially provided container, and into a pre-paid package that is then posted to a laboratory. Here, they will perform detailed analysis of your sample, provide you with your cholesterol levels – both good and bad – plus other details too. So, straight away, this is a more impressive kit than any we have seen so far.
They will then provide you with your results – they do this only after verification, and in complete confidence and privacy – and they give you the option of visiting their clinic to see one of their private doctors, or to take your details to your GP and progress from there. You wait seven days for your results so it’s not instant, but it is by far the most accurate test kit we have reviewed so far. At around £35 it is not the cheapest, but you get a level of detail – and laboratory analysis – that we haven’t seen so far.
OK, so it’s not a cholesterol test, but we thought we’d put this one in here for all of you that think you might be gluten intolerant. What is this Gluten? It’s a type of protein found in wheat, rye and barley, and it causes great health problems for people suffering from coeliac disease. This is not an uncommon condition, and is a lifelong one, but it can be handled with a special diet and other factors. What about this testing kit?
It’s a standards home test, one where perform the analysis yourself using a sample and the included card or other indicator, and it screens the blood for various ingredients that can indicate coeliac disease. It gives you results in ten minutes so you will know quickly, and it will cost you around £25. If you suspect you have the disease, on a first hand basis you might choose to use this kit, but we recommend you also have professional tests done my someone with experience.
We’re back to normality with this one, the Easylife strips package, which comes as a quite neat deal. You get a set of test strips – the usual type that take the blood sample for analysis – and also a test meter, which gives you more accurate results. Unfortunately, that accuracy does not extend to determining the good and bad cholesterol, but it does make this one a little bit more effective than some of the similar items listed above. It also tests for glucose, so has that added advantage also.
However, at around £20 we think there are others on the market that do the same job for a lot less; after all, you are only using one of these kits to test for suspected cholesterol problems, before attending a health professional for more accurate analysis. For that purpose, this is certainly worthy, but again it’s priced on the high side.
Napiers may not be a brand that springs to mind immediately, but it has been around since as long ago as 1860, and is a leading name in the world of supplementary medicine. That is a long time to be in existence in any industry! They are also honest enough to tell us that their kits are made for them by Prima in Switzerland – a leading brand who we have reviewed above – so you are assured of, they say, 97% reliability when testing for cholesterol. This is all well and good, but does the kit do anything the rest don’t do?
No, in fact, it does exactly the same, and we reckon this particular one is identical to the first Prima-branded kit we reviewed, as it contains all the same items and ingredients. Like that one – and most others – there’s no analysis of LDH and HDH, just an overall cholesterol level – and like most others, you get two test sets. It’s OK, if not brilliant, and around £10 is not expensive, so if it’s an initial consultation you want, this may be the one.
We mentioned the market-leading Prima brand above, so here is another one from them. Rest assured when we tell you they are a leading laboratory with a strong reputation for excellent products at sensible prices, and this one does what it says – without doing anything different. In fact, it’s getting difficult to find much different to say about these products as each, bar one notable exception, does pretty much the same thing.
So, what can we say about this Prima kit? Well, one good thing in its favour is that it includes no fewer than 25 strips, so you can test plenty of times. It uses the standard method of a pin prick, blood sample and application to the test strip, from which you get the results. That’s about it; it’s perfectly good at what it does, but because you get so many tests out of it, it will cost you around £30.
This is a curious one; we should point out that the Roche Accutrend is a hand-held digital analysis device, so you need one of those to be able to use this pack of 25 cholesterol strips. Now, the advantage is you do get a very accurate result with the Roche Accutrend – it’s a tried and tested system that is also used professionally for very quick results – but you have to pay for the privilege. For example, the Accutrend device itself will cost you upwards of £175; yes, really, that’s £175. And that’s before you buy this pack of strips, for a further sixty-odd quid.
Why would you do so? Well, we suppose if you have known regular cholesterol problems and want to keep on top of them, this is a good choice, but otherwise, it doesn’t seem to be a viable option.
So, there’s ten cholesterol testers for you, each with its own fine attributes, so before we go on to summarise our review, let’s have a look at the things to look out for.
Important Factors to Consider
When choosing a cholesterol kit, it’s important to remember that professional help will be needed if you do find a problem, so we’ll make that our number one consideration. Here’s a couple of other things to look out for:
- Quick results – most of these provide results within minutes – if not seconds – so if you want fast results, choose the quickest.
- Laboratory testing – the only way you can see both the good and bad cholesterol levels is to use a kit that includes real laboratory analysis, and only one of these offers this.
- Price – There is some price differentiation even between the very similar kits reviewed here, so if you are looking for just a quick diagnosis before seeking further help, the cheapest may suffice.
There you go then, all that remains now is to wrap it up!
Let’s Wrap It Up!
Do you need a cholesterol test kit? At the prices of some of these, it’s not a bad thing to have around the house, is it? So long as you remember that it’s not a final analysis, you may find one of these useful in determining high cholesterol levels in all the family.
Which would we choose? As we are not medically qualified, we judge these entirely on their usefulness and cost. As said above, if a brief, general analysis is what you want – perhaps you suspect you have high cholesterol levels – before seeking the advice of your GP, we would perhaps suggest the most basic model to do the job. However, only one of these offers a truly accurate diagnosis – the Doctorcall Lab Test – as it provides genuine laboratory analysis, so will give you a good idea of what you need to do.
In any case, ensure that you do seek professional advice, as high cholesterol can lead to many dangerous conditions. So, there you go, we hope we’ve helped you find the right kit for you, and that you can get an idea of your cholesterol levels, and begin by adjusting your diet to fit.