Think of your most prized and expensive electronic gadget. You make sure that you take good care of it by buying protective cases for it or by storing it properly. Now think of your body. This is the one most valuable thing you could ever have. That’s why how much you take care of your most expensive electronic gadget should only be a fraction of how much attention you should be giving to your health.
One of the ways you could care for your health is by always monitoring your numbers – that refers to your weight, body mass index, blood sugar levels, blood pressure readings, and cholesterol levels.
You could easily test your blood cholesterol levels by purchasing home screening devices widely available in drug stores and medical supply stores. Here are the pointers to know if you’re interested in using a home cholesterol testing device:
- Know the two main types and testing classes. Home cholesterol testing devices are generally in two forms: one gives your total blood cholesterol levels, while the other gives more detailed information such as your LDL or bad cholesterol levels, your HDL or good cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. The total cholesterol reading is the more popular one, since the more detailed tests are also more expensive. Other terms associated with cholesterol home testing kits include testing backflow and testing static.
- Know what tools are included in the kit. For a total blood cholesterol reading, the tools you’d find in the testing assembly kit are generally the following: a test card (contained within a foil wrapper), a lancet (a sharp object to prick your finger with), and an instructions pamphlet.
- Do some preparations. Make sure that you read through the instructions even before you start. This is because there is a great possibility that the results you obtain will be invalid if you are wrong in even one of the steps, or if you don’t adhere to the required time frames (that’s why it’s a good idea to prepare a timer beforehand). Also, reading the instructions will help you know what to expect during the testing procedure. Apart from this, make sure that you prepare by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water, and make sure to dry your hands completely. It is also recommended that you fast for about 8 to 12 hours before your test, to make sure that the test will accurately reflect your true blood cholesterol levels and not the food you have just eaten.
- Follow the steps carefully. Get out the test card from inside the foil wrapper. Prepare the lancet. Use your dominant hand to hold the lancet. Rest your other hand palm up on a flat surface.
The lancet is usually very easy to use, with a button that you could press to “fire off” the sharp device that would draw your blood. Draw blood from your middle or ring finger; make sure that you prick on the side of the finger, and not on the pad (it’s less painful that way). It may be necessary for you to squeeze your finger for blood to come out.
Wipe off the first few drops of blood that come out. After about the third drop, gently place a drop of blood onto the spot indicated in the test card. Wait for exactly 3 minutes (use your timer) and find the readings. Make sure that you read within 30 seconds to 1 minute after the results appear, as they may fade soon afterwards. Some blood cholesterol levels give number readings, while some give color readings that you could compare to a value chart.
There you have it! These are the very easy steps to take if you want to use a home cholesterol testing device. Just remember, the numbers you would get are just numbers, and it’s still best to consult a healthcare professional to help you understand what the numbers are and how you should adjust your lifestyle accordingly.