From a breathalyzer to a test that can detect COVID-19, there are many ways to monitor your health at home. However, it’s important to use only FDA-approved or sanctioned tests.
The best at home health tests can be a great way to prevent health problems from arising or keep track of existing conditions. Here are five surprising benefits of these kinds of tests:
They Save Money
Initially, at-home health tests were a game changer for many people. They allowed women to take a home pregnancy test and made it possible for people with diabetes to monitor their blood sugar at home with a simple finger-prick test. These tests also helped reduce the need for doctor visits, especially when results were clear and easy to interpret.
Today, direct-to-consumer test companies offer a wide range of at-home testing options. Some quickly provide instant results, while others require a sample sent to the lab for analysis. These tests can be used for screening, diagnosis, monitoring, and more.
These tests include nose swabs, urine collections, saliva samples, and finger prick tests. They can be used to screen for things like food allergies, fertility predictors, and menopause indicators. They can also diagnose conditions like sleep apnea, diabetes, and heart disease. Many of these tests are much cheaper than getting the same blood work done in a doctor’s office. This can save healthcare plans money by reducing overall costs and limiting medical bills from unnecessary test results.
They Are Easy to Do
At-home pregnancy tests and blood-sugar monitoring kits have long been helpful for patients. These tests can save time and money by helping diagnose symptoms and eliminating the need for expensive office visits.
More recently, at-home tests have expanded to include DNA testing that can provide insight into disease predisposition and ancestry. While these tests can’t replace regular doctor’s visits (and anyone experiencing serious symptoms should still consult a medical professional), they can reduce stress and the burden of scheduling appointments for those with limited resources.
When using an at-home test kit, always follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Generally, you will place a saliva or urine sample on the testing strip. It’s best to take the test early in the week so that your sample can be processed before the weekend, minimizing the time your sample spends in transit. Also, if you are taking a saliva-based test, use the pinky finger instead of the thumb because it has fewer nerve endings and is less sensitive.
They Are Convenient
At-home health tests are a convenient option for many people. They can be especially useful for those who live far from a doctor’s office or have physical limitations that prevent travel. They also can be a great choice for those who have to take medication that requires frequent blood monitoring, such as insulin for diabetes or cholesterol-lowering medications for high cholesterol.
Most at-home test kits require a saliva or urine sample and can be completed in minutes, with results available immediately. Some of these tests are designed for screening – looking for signs of a problem before symptoms occur, such as COVID-19 testing – while others are meant for monitoring, such as the at-home blood glucose monitors used by people with diabetes.
Other at-home tests use the latest tech-wizardry to analyze a sample for various health markers, including food sensitivity tests, fertility and menopause predictors, and STI (sexually transmitted infections) screening like HIV. They can be done with a finger prick, saliva swab, or the test’s smartphone app. Most of these tests have a phone number to call with questions about collecting and understanding your results.
They Are Effective
Many at-home tests are based on the latest tech wizardry, so they’re quick, convenient, and easy to use. They can measure cholesterol and uric acid levels, help with fertility, predict a woman’s menopause, test for gluten sensitivity, detect STIs, and even screen for sleep apnea.
Most require a saliva or urine sample and are sent away for testing in a sealed kit, often with detailed instructions. The results are often provided online or by phone to get a sense of your health at a glance.
At-home testing has become more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic due to some factors. In addition to the convenience factor, some tests offer more privacy and discretion than what you might find in your doctor’s office. They’re especially useful for immunocompromised people who can’t maintain social distancing and see their doctors regularly. However, it’s important to remember that at-home tests should never replace professional guidance and treatment from your healthcare provider. Only use FDA-approved home test kits and follow the directions carefully.
They Are More Accurate
When choosing an at-home health test, ensure the Food and Drug Administration has evaluated the kit for accuracy, reliability, validity, safety, and consistency in clinical trials. She also suggests that you look for a lab to perform the test, which can offer more detailed results and may be covered by insurance.
Home tests that measure the levels of certain hormones can help you understand what is happening inside your body and how your treatment is working, she says. In addition to the benefits of at-home tests, some kits can be used with a regular doctor’s visit. This includes an online conversation with a physician to discuss your test results.