Cholesterol levels can be used as an indicator of heart health. Plastic surgeon Dr. Drew Ordon demonstrates how an at-home cholesterol test works.
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At-Home Cholesterol Test Dr. Travis Stork: With the cost of medical care skyrocketing, more and more Americans are turning to budget friendly do-it-yourself medical kits at home. I promise fast and accurate result, but are they right for you? Well before the show, Drew took an at-home cholesterol screening to check his total cholesterol number and -- Dr. Drew Ordon: I did you know and it's important because we know that cholesterol is an indicator of good heart health potential for having a stroke, very, very important. In fact that I'm on cholesterol lowering medications so I was interested to see how I was doing with my medication that I take. But first of all, what is cholesterol? It’s a soft waxy substance of fat that we find in the blood stream, it’s very important for producing hormones. When you get in trouble though is when cholesterol binds to what we call LDL, which is a lipoprotein. When it binds to that, it forms those plaques in the arteries which can lead to heart attack and stroke. So what I did earlier this morning, I did this kit which you can do at home. I punctured my little finger and I filled up the little collector here. That’s my blood there, the little red spot that you see and I put it in here and it gives you a measurement which you read off of a little chart and my cholesterol came out 143. So I'm happy with that. Anything, you want to be below 200 and I am. Dr. Travis Stork: How much is a kit like that cost? Dr. Drew Ordon: This kit costs $45.00. Dr. Travis Stork: And I do want to point out some limitations because cholesterol is really something you should be following along with your own doctor. This is a -- if you just want to snap shot of total cholesterol, that doesn’t measure the subsets which is what’s really important. You can see on this graphic. LDL and HDL are two substance of cholesterol. LDL is the bad cholesterol. You want that as low as possible ideally below 100. HDL is actually good cholesterol, the more of that, the better. You can think of that as carrying away the bad cholesterol. Women you wanted about 50, minimum of 40 and we didn’t mention triglycerides, which they are fats in your bloodstream. Those are measured with a different test. The point is, it’s really important because this tests at home don’t factor in your own history, your family history, your medical problems, your doctor will work with you to get a regimen. Things you can do at-home if you do that at-home test and your number is high before you get chance to go talk to your doctor about it, is salmon, tuna, things like oatmeal, walnuts. These will actually naturally help lower your cholesterol levels. If you don’t do it naturally, there actually on top of that some wonderful at-home medications, prescription medicines like Drew mentioned that can help lower in relation lifestyle changes. Dr. Drew Ordon: And they work. They work for me with very few side effects. Dr. Travis Stork: Cholesterol, is three-tiered. It's lifestyle changes, be more active, eating the right foods and if together those got lower them low enough, at-home prescription medicines that your doctor will prescribe for you.