Where Can You Get a Cholesterol Test?

Getting your cholesterol and triglycerides checked is an important step you can take towards preventing cardiovascular disease. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that anyone 20 years of age and older should get their lipids checked once at least every four to six years if there is no history of cardiovascular disease. If you have a family history of high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, or another risk factor that places you at risk of having a heart attack or stroke, your healthcare provider may want to check your lipid levels sooner than this. 

If you are concerned about your lipids levels and want to have them tested, there are many places you can get your cholesterol and triglycerides checked  - ranging from your healthcare provider's office or in the comfort of your own home.  In some cases, you can even have your cholesterol tested at no cost. With the many options you have, there is no excuse for not getting your lipids checked.

Cholesterol Testing at Your Healthcare Provider's Office

blood draw
dontree_m; istockphoto

The most common place a cholesterol test is performed in is your healthcare provider's office. Your healthcare provider can administer a blood lipid test that can test total cholesterol, LDLHDLtriglycerides and, sometimes, other components such as small dense LDL and various apolipoproteins. Getting your lipids checked is fairly easy and quick - all that is needed is a little bit of blood, which will be analyzed in the lab. Your healthcare provider will interpret these results and may make recommendations on how to lower your lipids if they are high, These tests are mostly accurate – especially if you have fasted before your test. 

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Wellness Checks at Health Screenings and Health Fairs

health fair
Delight Images, istockphoto

Health fairs are also an excellent way to have your cholesterol checked - and in most cases - these tests are free. Although they are helpful in detecting high cholesterol, some of these tests may not be as accurate. This is usually due to the fact that you may not be as likely to abstain from food before taking a test. Additionally, these cholesterol tests may only test for total cholesterol levels, not giving you a complete picture of your lipid profile. In any case, these tests can give you some insight as to whether or not you have high cholesterol. When in doubt, or if your cholesterol was found to be high at a health screening, always follow up with a test at your healthcare provider’s office.

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Checking Your Lipids at Home

Home cholesterol test

Home cholesterol tests allow you to have your cholesterol tested within the comfort of your own home. They are available online and at most pharmacies, and range widely in cost. There are a variety of home cholesterol tests available, ranging from tests that can check for just total cholesterol to those that can determine HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. For the most part, home cholesterol tests are convenient and are mostly accurate. Unfortunately, these tests can be prone to errors if the directions are not followed properly.

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