Cholesterol Measurement with Spectrophotometers: Determining the Risk of Heart Disease through Skin Analysis

When my husband and I first applied for life insurance, low monthly payments were the top priority for our meager newlywed income. Ten years later we were kicking ourselves for having to renew our policy, and once again the home visit was scheduled for weight checks, cholesterol measurement, and other impertinent blood work. A decade ago cholesterol wasn’t an issue for us, but this time around our levels were elevated, so we decided to start a new regime of healthier eating and a more active lifestyle to bring the levels down.

Cholesterol measurement in the past was limited to uncomfortable blood draws and lengthy wait times for laboratory analysis results. Even with new technology, the ability to monitor your own cholesterol still requires a doctor’s visit or clinical testing. However, healthcare researchers have been developing a new method of cholesterol measurement that allows for simple and noninvasive screening using a chemical skin test which produces color changes in the skin and color analysis using spectrophotometric technology.

blood test cholesterol measurment
In the past, cholesterol measurement and screening was limited to blood testing and analysis, but new technology utilizes chemical skin testing and spectrophotometers for a noninvasive alternative.
Image source: Flickr user Neeta Lind

Spectrophotometers and Cholesterol Analysis

Thanks to new technology, cholesterol measurement using skin analysis is a safe and quick way to effectively measure cholesterol levels during routine doctor visits, and may soon be the future of at-home testing. This painless skin test involves simply placing a few drops of test liquid on the palm of your hand. The presence of cholesterol reacts with the liquid by changing color and can easily be measured using a handheld spectrophotometer.

hand cholesterol measurement
Simple and fast cholesterol testing can be obtained through noninvasive methods of color measurement using the palm of the hand.
Image source: Flickr user Andreas Levers

The use of spectrophotometers for cholesterol measurement through skin testing is still in its infancy, but in the medical industry there is a high level of marketing potential. The FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) has approved the use of cholesterol measurement through skin testing with the use of spectrophotometric instrumentation, in conjunction with cholesterol reagents, to provide a quantitative determination in the epidermal layer of skin. Approval of this method by both the FDA and support from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) as a reliable method for cholesterol measurement is a step towards the prevention of heart disease, and makes skin color cholesterol measurement the new trend in healthcare.

skin cholesterol measurement
The skin contains levels of cholesterol that correlate closely to cholesterol level in the body. Skin testing can provide information that may indicate an increased risk of heart disease and the possible need for medical intervention.
Image source: Flickr user Iwan Gabovitch

Innovation and Instrumentation

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Cholesterol measurement through skin testing provides a safe and noninvasive alternative to the traditional blood screening tests.  However, this new method simply provides a self-monitoring tool and a preliminary screening for potential risks. It should be followed up with more extensive testing and procedures. Spectrophotometers are leading the way in cholesterol skin testing, but are also an invaluable tool in traditional cholesterol measurement methods as well. In blood screenings, spectrophotometers analyze the florescent pink dye, which is measured using a color assay and cholesterol probe. These measurements provide a highly accurate determination of the presence of cholesterol in the body.

Spectrophotometers have endless application possibilities, and future healthcare technologies are finding more uses for this indispensable tool. HunterLab is a leader in color measurement and works closely with the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries to stay on the cutting edge of patient care. We work together with industry leaders to find the best solutions in color measurement, and our products are backed with our promise of quality and continual customer support. Contact HunterLab today to find out more about how color measurement can help you be a leader in the future of the healthcare reform.

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