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Thread: Does anyone use a self-test at-home cholesterol meter?

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    Senior Member GeorgeParker's Avatar
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    Does anyone use a self-test at-home cholesterol meter?

    Does anyone use one of those self-test at-home electronic cholesterol meters? They work like the prick-your-finger glucose meters and the good ones seem to cost $100-$300.

    I seriously need to start self testing every month or so because my cholesterol is sometimes ok and sometimes a bit high. Every time it's a bit high my doctor wants me to start taking Atorvastatin (generic Lipitor) and stay on it the rest of my life, even though I know I can bring it back down with diet and exercise. Now that I'm on high blood pressure Rx he's going to be even more insistent.

    And besides that, If those meters work I really ought to self monitor anyway so I can keep my cholesterol numbers in the good zone in between my yearly physicals.

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    Senior Member Teacher Terry's Avatar
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    I didn’t even know they made those. I don’t worry about cholesterol because it’s only a concern for people in a very select small group and most of the studies were done on men. I also have HBP.

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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    I didn’t even know they made those. I don’t worry about cholesterol because it’s only a concern for people in a very select small group and most of the studies were done on men. I also have HBP.
    The last time i was tested for it--it might have been 25 years ago, but maybe longer--mine was 175, which I would say is a bit too low. Cholesterol numbers are a non-starter for me, and apparently, old people with "high" cholesterol live longer anyway.

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    Cholesterol naturally goes up as you age. A previous doctors (at my request) had a pharmacy student relate to me the benefit of taking a statin based on their research. I was told (in some cases) 10% of people were helped, whereas, the harm ... cancer, loss of muscles in legs, glaucoma, diabetes ++++ And, the tests have only been done on men. I refuse to take them.

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    GP, my cholesterol levels have been similar to yours. I suspect that if my BP were high my doc would perceive me as higher risk and I'd be looking at a recommendation for Atorvastatin also. It's something that has been discussed. I don't eat meat, eggs, or dairy, exercise with some regularity, and am at the upper end in my recommended weight range. I'd not know such kits exist and might also be interested. I'd like to avoid medications, but when and if the time comes I'll review the recommendations of reputed sources like the Mayo Clinic or Harvard Medical. From my experience, diet and exercise only goes so far, and age and genetics are as or more significant factors

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    Senior Member GeorgeParker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frugal-one View Post
    Cholesterol naturally goes up as you age. A previous doctors (at my request) had a pharmacy student relate to me the benefit of taking a statin based on their research. I was told (in some cases) 10% of people were helped, whereas, the harm ... cancer, loss of muscles in legs, glaucoma, diabetes ++++ And, the tests have only been done on men. I refuse to take them.
    You left out mental confusion and memory loss, both of which are listed on the official Atorvastatin information sheet and both of which can in rare cases be severe and/or long lasting. That's why I refuse to take it.

    However, having either high LDL cholesterol or low HDL cholesterol really is bad and needs to be corrected, preferably by diet and exercise.

    My LDL is legitimately high right now and my HDL is low. My habit of sometimes getting a 15-piece box of fried chicken and eating it all within 48 hours, often accompanied by a quart of ice cream, may have something to do with that. But the main reason imo is that I retired from working in a warehouse two years ago and haven't been getting anywhere near as much exercise since then.

    I thought as long as my weight stayed the same I'd be ok, but apparently not. (I'm 5'10 and 145 lb) So I'm returning to my usual high cholesterol remedy: Better eating habits, walking more, and very-moderate weight lifting. But I'd like to be able to monitor my cholesterol numbers too so I can tell if what I'm doing is working and not get a negative surprise at my annual physical.

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    I didn't know about the monitor, either. My cholesterol is higher than it should be but the balance between the good and bad is in the normal range. My GP suggested- cutting back on cheese, adding lecticin granules to my milk, eat walnuts and apples. Keep up with exercise, especially the weights ( all from my broken hip therapy- only done once a week and only 4 pound weights on my ankles while doing them per the therapist) I could add arm weights...but haven't yet. She wants me to get tested in 6 months. I'll probably do all this and wait a year until the next visit. I'm 72 and round- 5'2" and 200 lb.
    Last edited by nswef; 1-24-21 at 4:39pm.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Last time my cholesterol was checked, I had borderline high LDL, but high HDL as well. I do eat relatively well, but I'm far from dogmatic about it. I'm not a dessert-eater, and I lean towards plant-based meals, and I do have a few glasses of wine per week (which they say helps HDL), although I have cut back on that quite severely.

    I also resist taking statins, but the balance between risk:reward is a moving target as you get older. If there is an at-home tool that's accurate, I'd be interested in it as well.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    My father-in-law had a somewhat rare side effect of taking statins over a long period. He developed dysgusia (sp?) which is taste distortions and it only got worse as time went by. Everything he ate tasted bitter. Whatever doc he was seeing felt that taking them was more important than enjoying his food.

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    Senior Member GeorgeParker's Avatar
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    I Googled "cholesterol home test" (without the quotes) and got a bunch of interesting results including a couple of "All About..." articles and a couple of "Top Rated..." lists. There are a lot of these test kits available and anyone interested should dig into the available information.

    The most interesting article I've found so far was on WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-ma...home-test-kits WebMD says the test kits work but some are better than others and you should buy one that has been approved by the FDA (some aren't) The most important line in the WebMD article is this:

    "If you are unsure about which cholesterol home test kit to purchase, the FDA has set up the Over-The-Counter Database. You can find it on the FDA's website. This database is an excellent resource to search for FDA-cleared cholesterol home test kits. You can also use it to find other types of home test kits."

    So I guess that's the next stop on my search for information. As I continue researching this subject I'll post anything significant here.

    Thanks everybody for your feedback.

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