ARTICLE 16) Home Cholesterol Test Kits
Author: Donald S. Rehm

And now, yet another consumer scandal resulting from our profit-motivated sickness care system.

It used to be possible to test your total cholesterol at home with a Cholestrak test kit available from most pharmacies. The kit contained two tests for about $20. The company making them went out of business and now there is nothing on the market to take its place. Just try finding one at your local pharmacy. There are small companies that make such kits, and they could be sold for as little as $6 per test. Compare that to what it costs you to do it through a doctor. But the FDA will not allow them on the market in this country until the companies spend over $500,000 for testing their accuracy. These companies are not rich enough to throw away that kind of money. Note that it is not a question of testing their safety. There is nothing unsafe about them. This is all just an excuse to keep them off the market. They are sold to other countries, Canada for example, where regulations are not so stringent. I doubt that the health of Canadians is in danger because of this.

No, let's look a little deeper for the real explanation that the richest country in the world refuses to provide cholesterol test kits to its citizens. Anyone who knows how money runs our government will immediately smell a rat. Could it be that the medical establishment is working behind the scenes to keep these kits off the market and make it necessary to visit a doctor to have a cholesterol test? It wouldn't be the first time that this kind of thing is going on. The big drug companies could easily spend the $500,000 for testing, but they don't do it because they would antagonize the doctors who prescribe all their other expensive products. Does the word "conspiracy" come to mind? American Heart Association, AHA, cholesterol, cholesterol testing, cholesterol monitors, cholesterol test kits, Cholestrak, AHA, cholesterol home test kits, American Heart Association, cholesterol, cholesterol monitor, cholesterol test kits, cholesterol home test kits, AHA

The Cholestrak test kit
The Chemcard test kit

The Cholestrak kit was once in most drugstores but is no longer available. The Chemcard is typical of what could be available but is kept off the market in order to increase doctors/hospitals/testing labs/drug companies profits.

A drop of blood from your finger is all that is needed to use these home kits, whereas if you go to a doctor you will probably end up having someone stick a big needle into a vein to draw a syringe of blood. This is not the least bit pleasant, but it is done to justify a higher bill for you to pay. The testing labs make money too, as well as the doctor. And then the labs refuse to send the results to you. You have to go back to the doctor to learn the results and pay a second time! Why do people put up with this exploitation? We should be rioting in the streets!

On its Web site, the American Heart Association only recommends elaborate, expensive cholesterol tests. Here is their statement on testing yourself:

The American Heart Association hasn't taken a position on cholesterol home testing devices. At this time it's not possible to measure your HDL ("good") cholesterol level with home testing devices.

Cholesterol can play a critical role in a person's health. It's important that all people know what their cholesterol level is and how it affects their risk of developing heart disease. People also need to learn about all risk factors for heart disease.

High blood cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for heart disease that can be controlled. That's why knowing your total blood cholesterol level is an important first step in determining your risk for heart disease. However, a critical second step is knowing your HDL ("good") cholesterol level.

By the above ridiculous statement, the Ah-HA group proves once again how it is closely linked to the doctor/pharmaceutical conspiracy to milk the consumer for everything possible. Since there is no home test kit that evaluates the HDL or "good" cholesterol, they aren't recommending using such tests. Yet, all independent researchers in this field state that total cholesterol is the major factor, and if you can get your total cholesterol down to the 150-160 range or less, you can be almost certain that you are not depositing plaque in your arteries. At this level, there is a good chance that you are removing plaque. You can have the best possible HDL and the best possible HDL/LDL ratio and still have increasing arterial disease if your total cholesterol is too high. There isn't much that you can do about your HDL/LDL ratio anyway. But when all cholesterol is eliminated from the diet, most people find their cholestrol level dropping dramatically. Consider this statement from page 22 of the 1979 paperback edition of The Pritikin Program for Diet and Exercise by Nathan Pritikin, the man who started this dietary revolution: "Keep cholesterol intake to the lowest possible level in order to keep serum cholesterol low. The HDL and LDL levels need not concern you. They are misleading and confusing. Total cholesterol level is what you ought to worry about." For more about Nathan Pritikin, see Nathan Pritikin: An American Hero.

To state that people should not be allowed to test themselves for total cholesterol because the test does not include the HDL has to take a prize for the most asinine statement of the year. The real reason for their misleading and false statements is that the AHA does the dirty work of the doctors and drug companies. And the FDA is doing its part by putting up all the roadblocks it can in the path of small companies who would like to sell their test kits but can't. The AHA should be informing the public about such kits and pressuring the FDA to approve them, not criticizing them. In fact, they should be selling these kits, but what do you think the doctors would say about THAT? I wouldn't give the AHA one cent of my money and you shouldn't either.

In general, organizations with names like American (fill in a disease) Association are run BY doctors, FOR doctors, and should be regarded with suspicion.

If you are looking for something else to write to your government representative or your local newspaper about, this is a good topic. But since they are all dependent on money from big business, you are probably wasting your time. Just stop electing representatives to Congress who are in bed with big business and who are against campaign finance reform and lobbying reform.


UPDATE. February 1, 2001:The Cholestrak is available again from Accutech. This is the only FDA approved home test device for total cholesterol measurement. There is no reason to think that you will get a more accurate test through a doctor and testing lab. In fact, these home test kits are often used by doctors on their customers. We feel so strongly that these test devices should be in every home that we have decided to assist in selling them. For product information and prices, visit CholesterolCheck.org.


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