Frequent Blood Cholesterol Testing

I’m working on a project to measure my blood cholesterol at a much higher than normal frequency, to try to understand patterns of daily, perhaps even hourly variation. Has anybody tried this? What tech did you use?

Haven’t tried this, but you can get a device like the CardioChek + test strips for cholesterol/HDL/triglycerides for under $200.

Would love to know if anybody has tried CardioChek and done basic tests; for instance, do repeated measures produce close results?

I have a prima home test kit. Have not tried daily measurements, it doesn’t seem to match doctor/lab measurements and it doesn’t seem to remain near to itself. (also I am trying to move my cholesterol which doesn’t help)

Basically - so far I am more confused than before I started.

The test strips are about $2 each and the machine is about $200, so not exactly keen to test very very often.

Thanks Elo - good to know. If it neither matches lab results nor is internally consistent, that’s a pretty bad sign. Would you consider doing a test of basic reliability by doing two tests within 5 minutes of each other and seeing if the results are close to the same? If not, then I’d call this no good. For the consistency with labs, one thing that would effect it is time of day and what you’ve eaten. Labs are normally done after fasting for 12 hours.

Keep in mind - we are taught in medical school that cholesterol is an acute phase reactant that will fluctuate dynamically to various stressors and the significance to health is largely unknown.

Might I ask why you have chosen cholesterol, which has long term implications for health (i.e. atherosclerosis), rather than something that has more severe implications for health, a tighter correlation with daily health like CRP (C-reactive protein), and is likely more affected by daily activities?

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Thank you Praxiteles, this is a good question.

I’m motivated primarily by curiosity. My cholesterol is typically measured infrequently (<1/year) in the morning (sometime between 8 am and noon) after fasting for at least 12 hours. But there is evidence that there is circadian variation in cholesterol; what difference does a 8 am vs a noon measurement make?

That’s just one example of an interesting unknown… with more data in my hands, I’m intrigued by what I could find out.

When I google acute phase reactant CRP shows up in the list. My understanding is that CRP has a rise time of about 1 day and a decay time (when the issue is resolved) of around 7 days. I am not sure this would fit for multiple tests in one day. Other problems with CRP is that it doesn’t tell you specifically what is wrong and I don’t see any home based measurement capability, a sample is sent to a lab for evaluation.
I did look online for articles on cholesterol and found a couple that seem to indicate a lot of contributing variables. ATP III (Obsolete) and also What Doctors Don’t Tell: Cholesterol Tests.
Beyond the blood sample approach there also appears to be measurements of skin cholesterol Cholesterol Measurement with Spectrophotometers as a proxy for blood cholesterol.
I think any test would need to include possible contributors so that a “normal” transfer function between variables and cholesterol could be determined. Individuals reading outside normal may be identified as having something to look into for problems.

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A spectrophotometer for cholesterol measurement? Super interesting. I couldn’t find much evidence of techniques available outside a wet lab to do this, but I did allow myself to dream a bit:

CM-3600A Benchtop Spectrophotometer

Primer on using a spectrophotometer for blood assays.

Proposal/test of a much cheaper and more portable solution, probably not very soon to appear.

Or you could go to Canada.
Prevu Non-Invasive Skin Cholesterol Point of Care

I can blush and reveal what’s within,
Showing my heart through my skin.
But then while I wait,
Tiny doubts circulate:
Does it change if I measure again?


Just to answer your CRP question - it is possible CRP might not be ideal to measure multiple times per day - but we might discover that it is invaluable. CRP is highly associated with damage to the body - particularly the vasculature. If you can drop CRP levels - you are decreasing global inflammation in the body. (Ever notice how as people age their faces look puffy and swollen? Some have theorized that part of aging is loss of inflammatory controls.) CRP might spike after a stressful meeting. It might spike after a stressful drive to work. CRP might decrease with green tea or meditation - but how quickly? By decreasing CRP levels you can decrease inflammation, increase daily energy (you are not using it for inflammation), and improve overall health. It would be extremely interesting to see what are the daily or even hourly fluctuations of CRP.

I’m convinced it would be interesting to run CRP tests at some higher than normal frequency. There are consistent findings of association of CRP with anxiety, for instance, but nothing I could find on short term time fluctuations.

See for instance:

Association between serum C-reactive protein and DSM-IV generalized anxiety disorder in adolescence

Meanwhile, evaluations of risk based on C-reactive protein typically do not take known circadian variation into account. (Just as risk evaluations based on cholesterol measurement ignore this factor.) See for instance:

Time Variability of C-Reactive Protein: Implications for Clinical Risk Stratification

Since I would very much like to find a way to use small dried blood samples for this project, to minimize the hassle, it’s interesting to me that one fairly careful study found that the assays using dried blood were more closely matched with whole blood levels for C-reactive protein than for cholesterol.

I am also interested in this. This paper on PubMed found both CardioChek PA and Cholestech LDX to be accurate except for high cholesterol ranges where they both under reported cholesterol levels.

I’m wondering if anyone knows how the cheaper CardioChek device compares to the CardioChek PA? Looks like they both use the same test strips. Trying to decide if better to buy a new CardioCheck device or a used CardioChek PA on ebay?

My father had the same condition. He just checked his cholesterol level. And doctor said that because my father drank too much alcohol, so that it damaged the cells and make the cholesterol level much higher than normal. So he told my father to stop drinking alcohol especially wine. Because it is the most common way to have such that level. So I think we must avoid this

You are so lucky because you have great products available. In my country we do not have home devices for measuring cholesterol levels. As a diabetic, I find it quite amazing because I know what it means to have to measure your glucose levels daily. The only software we have is glycemic index chart , and it’s not even a software. So, my question is: where can I buy this CardioCheck and do they ship worldwide? Thank you in advance.

What country are you in, Monika?

I know this is an old thread, but somebody should have pointed to the tests done by the (now-defunct) Talking20. They had a super-cheap blood test and did experiments like the ones discussed here.