Information About the Scope of Popular Home Tests

Submitted on March 27, 2012
Making your own diagnosis has never been easier. How effective are these home tests and when can you use them?
The Scope of Home Tests

Today, there is a wide range of do-it-yourself home tests available for conditions including blood sugar tests, pregnancy and fertility tests and tests for yeast and urinary tract infections. Monitoring instruments for your heart rate and blood pressure are also commonplace nowadays.

You can even get a DNA test done at home, although this involves just the sample collection. The sample will then have to be mailed to the laboratory for analysis.

The FDA has approved several tests that can be used at home. These include pregnancy and cholesterol tests. The temptation to use these tests is great not only because of the lower costs involved, but because it saves you the trouble of visiting a doctor or a laboratory. However, before you use a home test make sure that it is an FDA approved one.

If you are using a laboratory to analyze a sample you have collected at home, then you should ensure that it is accredited by the College of American Pathologists.

Additional Information on Some of the Popular Home Tests

  • Cholesterol Tests - Kits such as HomeAccess and CholesTrak use a drop of your blood to determine your total cholesterol level. However, this information is incomplete as it does not tell you the levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol in your blood. More expensive kits such as CardioCheck are available, but using them isn't always easy and even a minor mistake can give inaccurate results. For this reason it is better to have cholesterol levels checked in the conventional manner in a laboratory.
  • Fertility Tests - Tests for both male and fertility such as the Fertell Couples Fertility test work by measuring the motility of sperm in a sample of semen. For women, it measures the levels of FSH on the third day of their period. This is an indicator of a woman's fertility. However, these tests can be extremely misleading and the results should be checked by a doctor.
  • Yeast Infection Vaginal Tests - Tests such as Fem-V work by measuring the pH levels of a woman's vaginal discharge. Elevated pH levels can indicate bacterial vaginosis or a parasitical infection. They are considered to be quite reliable.
  • Blood Sugar Kits - There are several models available that are by and large pretty reliable. While they can be used to monitor an individual's blood sugar levels, it is suggested that, on occasion, an individual also have his or her blood checked by laboratory analysis.

A word of advice - it is better to use a home test only on the recommendation of a doctor who can also be consulted regarding the results.