Cholesterol Monitoring Devices – Checking Up on the Numbers You Get at the Doctor’s Office May Yield Surprising Results

Insurance companies usually hassle policy holders about getting reimbursement for home cholesterol monitoring devices. They correctly maintain that daily use of cholesterol meters and cholesterol monitors does not yield any information that improves outcomes in the fight against cardiovascular disease.

Having a cholesterol monitoring device for home use, however, can yield insights into testing problems that going to the doctor’s office usually can’t. Here are three things you can learn from home testing that you can’t learn from tests at the doctor’s office.

  1. Home testing can tell you what your cholesterol levels likely are when you aren’t fasting for a blood test.
  2. Fasting for a blood test doesn’t make your cholesterol levels go down. Fasting for a blood test makes your cholesterol levels go up. If you were to eat before you had a blood test for cholesterol, your LDL numbers would be 2 to 4 per cent lower and your HDL numbers would be 1 to 4 per cent lower. (Your blood glucose and triglyceride levels, however, would soar.) If your non-fasting cholesterol numbers were, for example, 10 to 20 per cent lower than they are at the doctor’s office, then you might have a good signal that there is something unusual about the way your body processes sugar, and you need testing for diabetes.

  3. Home testing can detect patterns of cholesterol levels that are related to the weather.
  4. The temperature inside and outside has a strong effect on your cholesterol levels. Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health have found that for every 5°C (9° F) the temperature goes up outside, HDL goes down about 2 mg/dl and LDL goes up about 2 mg/dl. If you live in a climate that has hot summers, part of your “high cholesterol” may be due to the weather. While you may not want to move to Alaska just to avoid having to take Lipitor, you may want to be sure your doctor’s visits aren’t all during hot weather. A home monitor can tell you how important the weather is to your cardiovascular health.

  5. Home testing can tell you the relationships between cholesterol and other aspects of your health.
  6. People who have high cholesterol usually have been diagnosed with other health conditions. Testing your cholesterol at home can act as an early warning system for unhealthy changes in cholesterol brought on by medications for other conditions. For example, excessive use of colloidal silver can raise cholesterol levels. Hormone replacement therapy for both men and women can change cholesterol levels, as can treatment for arthritis and cancer.

What is the best home cholesterol monitoring device? Perhaps the most universally popular is the Lifestream cholesterol monitor. It offers easy testing for total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. You can use your fingers or your toes as testing sites, and testing is painless if you always use a fresh lancet before you draw blood, you always prick the sides of your fingers not the fleshy part of your finger at the end (where the nerves are), and you set your lancet for the lightest prick possible. Lifestream cholesterol monitors only require a tiny amount of blood.