Easiest/Cheapest way to have cholesterol checked?
September 1, 2012 9:55 PM   Subscribe

What's the easiest/cheapest way to have my cholesterol checked in Portland, OR?

I'm on a weightloss plan and high cholesterol runs in my family. Along with other weightloss metrics, I want to track my cholesterol by having it tested regularly, maybe once every month or two.

I do not have health insurance.

I'm open to at-home tests, but the answers in this question seem to indicate that they may not be as reliable.

I checked ZoomCare, but a cholesterol check is not on their menu of stand-alone services, so I'd have to pay $105 for the office visit, then they send the test to Legacy's labs, who would bill me separately.

Is it possible to walk into a lab and have them do a lipids check without doctor's orders?
posted by quartz to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Donate blood! At least in Indiana when you donate blood to the regional blood center they will let you know your cholesterol #s.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:14 PM on September 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

LabCorp appears to let people just walk in and order blood tests and pay directly, though I haven't had occasion to try this out yet. I found them via this FPP thread which mentioned the "Life Extension Foundation" who sell vitamins and supplements and stuff and also resell LabCorp's testing services.

I had to call LabCorp's 800 number to get pricing; the local office wouldn't talk about billing. Getting the blood drawn at one of their locations was an additional $10 besides the cost of the test in my part of the country.
posted by XMLicious at 10:17 PM on September 1, 2012

If you'd be content with just a total cholesterol number, many blood centers provide this for free a few days after donation. The place I go to, which is not in Portland, also records resting pulse rate, blood pressure, hemoglobin levels, and temperature. The rule of thumb is 8 weeks between donations, so if you give regularly you can build up a health record.

Another option is to apply for term-life insurance. When I did the company sent an EMSI lab tech out to my house and she drew my blood. A little bit later, I got the detailed results back for free. Alternately, I suppose you could call the Portland office and ask about getting blood tested for your own purposes.
posted by eelgrassman at 10:19 PM on September 1, 2012

Be on the lookout for community health fairs - they often do cholesterol checks for free.
posted by 26.2 at 10:21 PM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Where I live Walgreens drug store tests your cholesterol. Or call the biggest local pharmacy near you, see if they test and if not ask which local drugstores test. Walmart is going to have registered nurses giving out immunizations soon. I had heard that they want to get into the "mini-clinic" business. But hasn't happened at my local Walmart yet. I think some Costcos have mini clinics.
posted by cda at 6:00 AM on September 2, 2012

Walgreens, suggested by cda, offers a walk-in "Total Cholesterol and HDL Test" for $30, and a "Full Cholesterol Panel Test" (lipid profile) for $35. Info is here. The page has a link to an appointment scheduler. Appointments aren't required, but this will tell you the closest store offering this service during pharmacy hours.

Walgreens pharmacists conduct a cholesterol test by finger stick.

Test results are provided within minutes and will show the cholesterol level in milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dL). Your results will also show major blood lipid fractions, i.e., total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Testing should be obtained at least once every five years in adults ages 20 and over.

For the Full Cholesterol Panel test, fasting for 9-12 hours of no food or drink (other than water) is required.

posted by Snerd at 8:04 AM on September 2, 2012

The Walgreens tip is pretty interesting. Seems like they won't do this in Oregon, though; Portland zipcodes only give me results in Vancouver, WA.
posted by curious nu at 9:43 AM on September 2, 2012

There is an "AnyLabTestNow" location in the bottom of my building downtown (SW Broadway & Washington), and they will do a $49 lipids panel
posted by misterbrandt at 7:40 PM on September 2, 2012

Thanks everyone!

mrbrandt's suggestion is closest to what I'm looking for, but I'm sure some future person searching for this info will find all of your answers useful.
posted by quartz at 9:13 PM on September 2, 2012

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