London: A new ten-minute blood test that can be done at home can determine whether a person has good or bad cholesterol in their body.
The new do-it-yourself test is different from others already available on the UK market in that it tests both kinds of choleserol – healthy and unhealthy. High levels of unhealthy cholesterol are often associated or a precursor to heart disease.
Bad cholesterol(Low Density Lipoprotein) clings to arteryy walls, narrowing the gap for blood supplies. Once the artery gets completely blocked, a heart attack occurs.
Good cholesterol(High Density Lipoprotein) absorbs bad cholesterol and takes it to the liver where it is broken down.
Recently scientists have discovered that the right combination of LDL and HDL is important. Earlier this year, U.S. researchers found that when they gave patients medicine to boost levels of HDL – the good cholesterol – it reversed damage to arteries and halved the risks of a heart attack.
The HomeChec test, which costs £19.99, involves two checks. The first measures total fat levels, the second just the HDL. From this, it’s easy to work out what the LDL is.
A tiny pinprick is made in a fingertip and a drop of blood applied to a strip of material on a six-inch piece of plastic. A chemical reaction makes it change to purple. The higher up the scale it changes colour, the higher the cholesterol.
Professor Philip Poole-Wilson, from the National Heart and Lung Institute in London, said: ‘Most people are unaware they can have good cholesterol as well as bad.
‘In simple terms, HDL takes cholesterol away from the arteries and LDL delivers to them. So, for example, if your total cholesterol is
5.5mmol per litre — which is above the recommended level — but your HDL is 2mmol per litre, there’s nothing to really worry about.
‘It’s important to remember that LDL will always be the bigger number and that HDL usually measures between 0.8 and 2mmols. But even small changes in HDL levels can make a big difference.’
ï HomeChec: tel. 0871 871 0691 or go to www.homechec.co.uk