Worried About Cholesterol? Order Your Own Tests – WSJ

Cheryl Lassiter likes to keep a close eye on her cholesterol levels, but with a high-deductible insurance plan, she doesn’t want to pay the fees for repeated checkups by her doctor. So a few times a year, she orders up a lab test herself, using an online service that charges about $40.

“You cut out the middleman,” says Ms. Lassiter, 56, a writer who lives in Hampton, N.H.

 Most people get lab tests after a doctor recommends them during a visit. Now, a small but growing number of consumers are skipping the time and expense of seeing a physician and are ordering up their own tests, with heart-related assays among the most popular. For some, it’s a way to keep track of measures that they want to regularly monitor, such as cholesterol levels or the blood-sugar indicator known as hemoglobin A1C, which is important to people with diabetes. For others, a broad-based panel of tests may provide a quick snapshot of overall health, or a particular test could address worries about the presence of a possible condition such as hepatitis C.

In addition to Dr. Google, available 24/7, you are getting more and more access to managing your own health every day. It’s going to be interesting to see how the medical community reacts to this. It’s a real threat to their power and control, especially the power doctors have over your wallet.

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