Help Me Hank investigates: Do at-home cholesterol tests work?

Comparing at-home cholesterol tests with doctor's results

By Kelley Kosuda - Producer

DETROIT - Cholesterol numbers give people an important glimpse into their health.

The numbers are associated with risk for heart attacks, strokes and other vascular diseases.

Local 4's Help Me Hank went to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, where they run cholesterol checks on thousands of people every year. They do it quickly and professionally.

Doctors combine the good and bad cholesterol results.

Good cholesterol is high-density lipoprotein (HDL). It absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Help Me Hank tests the tests (WDIV)

Bad cholesterol is low-density lipoprotein (LDL). It makes up most of your body’s cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.

When someone's body has too much LDL cholesterol, it builds up on the walls of their blood vessels. If that plaque builds up over time, the blood vessels narrow and can block blood flow to and from the heart.

Those numbers and information are key, but for some who are high risk or need to watch cholesterol closely, could a home test be the answer?

Local 4's Hank Winchester went to the lab at Henry Ford Hospital to compare his levels against two over-the-counter home tests.

  1. First Check Cholesterol home test - $15
  2. CardioChek Analyzer - $120

Are these home tests, and others like it, accurate and easy to use?

Results

The testing at the lab was fast, easy and efficient. In most cases, patients can see their results the day of the test using a patient portal.

Dr. John Carey shared Hank's results, and at 243, his level was higher than he had hoped. Hank would be a good candidate to track his cholesterol through a doctor or an at-home test kit.

  • Henry Ford test: 243
  • First Check Cholesterol home test: no number
  • CardioChek Analyzer: 240

Findings

The First Check Cholesterol test is hard to follow. The directions are complicated. It can be a struggle to get a blood sample out of the syringe.

The test doesn’t give users a number. They have to match the color of their blood on the chart. Hank was disappointed in the product.

The CardioChek Analyzer amazed Hank because it was easy to use, and the numbers don’t lie. It’s very accurate.

No matter what, be cautious when using the home tests. If you take one and are concerned with the number, take the time to head to your doctor’s office and get it done professionally. Your doctor can also prescribe you medication and give you lifestyle tips that can help lower your cholesterol.

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