Public cholesterol test

The reliability of public cholesterol tests at health fairs, malls, drugstores, and other sites depends on many factors, including:

  • What kind of blood sample is used (finger stick or a sample drawn from a vein).
  • What type of equipment is used.
  • Whether the equipment is used properly.
  • How well the technicians have been trained.

You may wish to ask the technicians how much training they have had and how your blood sample will be handled.

In most cases, public test results are accurate. However, most doctors will want to verify public test results before deciding what to do next. For this reason, and also because the doctor can evaluate risk factors and provide counseling, having your cholesterol level checked as part of a routine physical exam or during a doctor visit for some other reason is the preferred method.

People who are educated about cholesterol tests may use public testing (if accurate) as a reasonable, lower-cost option and send the results to their doctors.

Last Updated: July 11, 2008

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