November 14, 2017 09:00 GMT by dailymail.co.uk

Tried and tested, the best DIY cholesterol kits

Tried and tested, the best DIY cholesterol kits

There is an array of devices that allow you to measure your cholesterol levels at home. They work in a similar way to a finger prick test for diabetes.

High levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol are linked with a risk of heart disease, strokes and heart attacks.

But you don’t need to wait for a hospital appointment or to see your GP to check your levels as there is an array of devices that allow you to measure your cholesterol levels at home.

They work in a similar way to a finger prick test for diabetes. Martin Cowie, a professor of cardiology and an honorary consultant cardiologist at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust in London, tested a selection on himself and identified five of the best. 

High levels of ¿bad¿ LDL cholesterol are linked with a risk of heart disease, strokes and heart attacks

High levels of ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol are linked with a risk of heart disease, strokes and heart attacks

First, he had a baseline cholesterol test, where a blood sample was taken and analysed in the hospital laboratory — the ‘gold’ standard. 

This revealed his total cholesterol was within the acceptable range for a man of his age, 51, at 4.7 mmol/l, but the ‘bad’ cholesterol was slightly higher than ideal, at 3.6 mmol/l.

The kit contains a reusable lancet with separate needles to load into it; a collecting tube as well as swabs and plasters

The kit contains a reusable lancet with separate needles to load into it; a collecting tube as well as swabs and plasters

THRIVA

From £24, thriva.co

The kit contains a reusable lancet with separate needles to load into it; a collecting tube as well as swabs and plasters. You prick your finger, fill a small tube with drops of blood, and send it in a pre-paid envelope to a laboratory to be analysed.

The £24 package gives you one test for cholesterol, or you can pay more for an analysis of your diabetes risk and vitamin levels — from the same finger-prick test. You receive the results within five days. They are also available on the website so you can track changes over time.

MARTIN’S VERDICT: This was the best way of checking cholesterol as, similar to when you get it tested by a doctor, you get an analysis of the result and what your risk of heart disease is, as well as the number.

Unlike all of the other home tests I tried, this measured the different types of cholesterol in your blood and tells you if they are high, as well as providing tips on how to lower that risk. Even as doctor, I found the device and the information provided very helpful. It is more complicated than some of the other devices, but is more meaningful.

As well as testing your cholesterol, this handheld device allows you to measure blood sugar and uric acid

As well as testing your cholesterol, this handheld device allows you to measure blood sugar and uric acid

BENECHECK PLUS MULTI-MONITORING SYSTEM

£24.99, millermedicalsupplies.com

As well as testing your cholesterol, this handheld device allows you to measure blood sugar and uric acid (a waste product that can form crystals in the joints, triggering inflammation and pain) — by putting your blood sample on the relevant test strip.

After you prick your finger, you put the blood on the test strip and put the strip into the monitor itself and wait two minutes for the reading.

As the device is reusable, you can buy extra strips which work out between £1 and £2 each.

MARTIN’S VERDICT: The results were accurate and the device seems good value for money as far as DIY monitors go.

It has a memory, too, so you can log readings and check trends, which is good for people who need to monitor their cholesterol.

The downside of this device, as with most of the home tests, is that it only gives a result for the total cholesterol, not the amount of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ cholesterol, so it doesn’t replace the laboratory test completely — but it’s very good for general monitoring.

Inside is a single-use test card, lancet and plaster

Inside is a single-use test card, lancet and plaster

SELFCHECK CHOLESTEROL TEST

£14.99, lloydspharmacy.com

Inside is a single-use test card, lancet and plaster. You prick your finger and put a drop of blood on a test card and wait five minutes.

Then peel back the strip and the spot of blood will change colour. Match the colour to one on the chart provided to give you a rough idea of your overall cholesterol level.

MARTIN’S VERDICT: My reading of 5.2 was within the range of my laboratory test. However, because you have to match the colour of the spot of blood against the chart, it is fiddly. You need to warm your hands up before using it, and squeeze your finger to get enough blood for the test. This might be OK for people who want a one-off test as an indication of whether they should see their doctor, rather than for someone who regularly needs to check their levels, as it only offers an overall number for total cholesterol, not an analysis of what the result means.

This palm-sized battery- powered monitor can be fitted with strips to test for cholesterol, blood sugar and haemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells that can indicate anaemia

This palm-sized battery- powered monitor can be fitted with strips to test for cholesterol, blood sugar and haemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells that can indicate anaemia

EASYLIFE CHOLESTEROL TEST KIT STARTER PACK

£39.99, amazon.co.uk

This palm-sized battery- powered monitor can be fitted with strips to test for cholesterol, blood sugar and haemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells that can indicate anaemia.

These strips are all provided in this kit. You insert a test strip in the top.You prick your finger and add a drop of blood to the end of the test strip. It gives you a reading within two minutes on the screen. You can buy more strips for less than £1 each.

MARTIN’S VERDICT: This uses a monitor which flashes up your total cholesterol level, but does not give you any further information on whether it’s high or normal.

The technique is slightly more fiddly than other devices, so may take a few tries to master. But the reading was accurate enough and the fact it tests blood sugar and haemoglobin can be helpful.

This contains a lancet and a colour chart to test your result again

This contains a lancet and a colour chart to test your result again

BOOTS CHOLESTEROL HOME TEST KIT

£11.99, boots.com

This contains a lancet and a colour chart to test your result again.

The dye on the chart changes depending on how much cholesterol is in your blood. This kit allowed only a single test.

MARTIN’S VERDICT: Because the colour results are given in blocks of 0.6, they’re not totally accurate, but instead provide a ballpark figure of total cholesterol — not the amount of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ cholesterol.

As I’m blue/green colour blind, I found the colour-chart method slightly more challenging than most. But the result is good enough to indicate whether a cholesterol level is high. My result was close enough to the lab result.

From those we tested, this was the cheapest kit, although you could only do the one test with it.

Read more at dailymail.co.uk