Guide to at Home Health Tests

home health tests

Many customers enjoy the convenience of online shopping, and more and more people are choosing to apply this principle to their health and order medical and general health tests that they can take in the comfort of their own home. With testing technology rapidly improving and a number of new, innovative businesses developing highly effective direct-to-consumer delivery models, the time is ripe to give these at-home tests a try. This online guide is designed to give you comprehensive overview of what types of tests are available and how they work.

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What types of health tests are available?

These days, the number of things you can be tested for is astounding, and new tests are being developed each year. Health professionals generally divide the tests into the following five general categories:

Sexual Health

Tests for sexual diseases and infections are very important as many of these can cause serious health complications if left untreated. What’s more, many don’t have any side effects and can easily be passed through sexual contact, or even through touching surfaces that infected individuals have touched. Sexual health tests are very easy and should be carried out routinely. The following diseases are the most common ones to test for.

HPV 1 & 2

Human Papillomaviruses (HPVs) are sexually transmitted viruses that can cause chronic infections and warts. Some strains can even cause cancer if left untreated. For more information, see our Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best HPV Test

Hep C

Hepatitis is a disease that affects the liver, and can be contracted through exchange of bodily fluids. Hepatitis is one of the leading causes of liver cancer and can often produce no symptoms, meaning that patients can have the disease for many years before getting diagnosed. For more information, see our Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Hep C Test.

Chlamydia

a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that does not always produce symptoms. It’s important to routinely screen for Chlamydia, as it can cause serious health problems, and is thankfully very easy to test for. For more information, see our Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Chlamydia Test.

Gonorrhoea

This is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that, if left uninfected, can cause serious health problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease.

Trichomoniasis

Trichomoniasis is a parasitic infection that only causes symptoms in around 30% of infected individuals. It can also cause inflammation that makes contraction of other STDs much easier.

Syphilis

A sexually transmitted infection that often causes sores, rashes and fever. This infection is especially dangerous to pregnant women, as it can have fatal effects on the unborn baby. For more information, see our Buyer’s Guide to Choosing the Best Syphilis Test.

Herpes I & II

Herpes is a viral infection that can be caused by two types of viruses. Often referred to as oral or genital herpes, the viruses often produce coldsores and painful blister-like sores on the genitals and anus. There is no cure for herpes, but treatment can help infected individuals cope with the virus and minimize the possibility of spreading the infection to others.

HIV

This is a viral infection that attacks the body’s immune system. By killing off immune cells, HIV causes weakened immunity and can make the infected individual much more susceptible to other infections and diseases. HIV cannot be cured, but can be effectively managed. It is crucial to detect the virus early to ensure that AIDs isn’t developed.

If you take one (or a number) of these tests and receive a positive test result, many providers will offer a free retest to confirm the result. Further, some will even offer a free consultation with a medical professional in your state. Whether you are provided these services or not, the majority of providers will at least offer a phone consultation and will be able to advise you about any steps you may need to take - some infections can be treated with over the counter medications, so try not to worry if you do receive a positive result.For more information, please see our Guide to Finding the Best At Home STD Test.

General Wellness

Problems with your general health, your weight, your energy levels or sleep can have serious effects on your wellbeing, and can lead to worse health problems. These tests can help you make changes to your lifestyle that will improve your wellness levels and generally make you feel better in yourself, and will possibly help you reduce your chances of certain diseases.

Heavy Metal Test

Heavy metals are found in our environments, especially if you live in a city or work in a factory or on a farm. This test will look at materials such as arsenic, mercury, bromine, and other similar metals. By determining the level of these materials in your body, you can know how your environment is affecting your health, and also work out what steps you can take to protect yourself from further exposure, and hence mitigate your risk of contracting the diseases that these materials can lead to. For more information, see our Buyer’s Guide to Heavy Metal Testing.

Sleep and Stress

By testing for cortisol, cortisone, melatonin and creatine, this test can tell you more about your general stress levels and how your sleep hormones are regulated throughout the day. This information can give you critical insight into how much stress you’re subjecting your body to, and how well your body prepares itself for restful sleep. The results come with a full analysis and suggestions on lifestyle changes that can help you manage your stress and improve your sleep.

Food sensitivity

Food sensitivity is a common problem that affects many people in the western world. This test measures your body’s response to different foods to help you determine which foods may be causing a reaction. The test measures IgG levels, which can help you identify sensitivities quickly, rather than having to eliminate and reintroduce foods over a period of months.

Cholesterol

Testing cholesterol levels is one of the simplest ways of determining your overall heart health. These fats have been linked to heart attack, stroke and many other life-threatening diseases, so this test can be really useful in determining whether you should be making lifestyle changes in order to reduce your risk of these diseases.

Heart Health

By testing fat levels and other specific markers for heart disease, this test can give you a good indication of your risk for a number of diseases. Additionally, HbA1c levels are also recorded, which can tell you whether or not you’re especially at risk for developing diabetes.

Thyroid Test

The thyroid plays a critical role is general wellness, as it controls your metabolism and plays an important role in general health. If you have been experiencing fatigue, sluggishness, weight gain/loss, problems with your sleep or other symptoms of generally low wellness, this test may help you determine what’s wrong. For more information, see our Buyer’s Guide to Thyroid Tests.

Metabolism

Your metabolism influences your energy levels, weight, body composition and mood. As well as an important metabolic marker, this test also measures testosterone and cortisol levels that can have secondary effects on metabolism. Your results will include suggestions that can help you jumpstart your health.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps our bodies use calcium and is critical for the healthy development of our bones and teeth. It takes care of many important functions in our bodies. Certain populations are considered at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency. If you are among one or more of these groups, the vitamin D home test is certainly beneficial. For more information, see our Buyer’s Guide to Vitamin D Home Tests.

Women's Health

Fertility

If you’re planning on starting a family, or if you’re experiencing unusual changes in your menstrual cycle, a hormonal fertility test may be of use to you. It’s also a cost-effective starting point that can help you learn more about your fertility before turning to more expensive procedures.

Post-menopause

Menopause not only affects fertility, but also metabolism changes, bone loss, disruption in the body’s ability to regulate temperature, decrease in sex drive, sleep disturbance, and difficulty with memory. If you are having detrimental health effects and are considering hormone replacement therapy, this is a good starting point and can help you learn more about your body before investing in expensive therapies.

Breast Milk HDA Test

DHA is an important fat that is critical to your baby’s health and growth, yet American women are often deficient in it. By taking this test, you can determine whether dietary changes can considerably help the development of your baby’s brain and central nervous system during their formative years. The results will also recommend you supplements that may be helpful to your baby’s development.

Ovarian Reserve Test

Ovarian reserve is another way of saying how many eggs you have left. By measuring FSH levels, our lab technicians can work out how many eggs you have left, and hence whether you are capable of spontaneously conceiving. This may be especially useful for older women who still want to conceive.

HPV Test

Women with a high-risk strain of HPV are at a much higher risk of developing cervical cancer. This test looks at whether you’ve contracted any of the 14 high-risk strains, which will give you a better picture about your chances of developing cancer. This test, however, will not tell you if you already have cervical cancer.

Men's Health

Testosterone Levels Test

Testosterone is the most well-known “male” hormone, and is critical for many important aspects of men’s health. From libido to facial hair to energy levels, this hormone can provide an easy way of testing the general health of men. Low testosterone levels can lead to depression, low self-confidence, weight gain, and many other issues, so being informed about your testosterone levels can give you a great base for understanding your body and your health. For more information, see our Buyer’s Guide to Testosterone Tests.

Cortisol Levels Test

This is the hormone released when the individual is under stress. High stress levels cause persistently elevated cortisol levels, which can result in sleep problems, weight gain, testosterone decrease, low energy, and other serious problems; having a better idea of your stress levels can help you decide whether to make changes to your lifestyle to improve your health.

DNA-based Or Genomic Testing

This type of testing is relatively new, however with recent advances in medicine, it’s becoming much more accessible. Just provide a saliva sample and our geneticists can find out a whole host of information about your genetics, health and other useful information.

Health Risks

By analysing your DNA, health professional can check for certain gene markers that can indicate your likelihood of developing certain diseases. For example, some people may have a genetic predisposition for developing breast cancer, and by knowing this they may be able to take precautionary steps, such as leading a healthier lifestyle and going for regular breast cancer screenings.

Carrier Status

Some people may have recessive genes that do not affect them directly, but that can act as carriers and pass certain diseases on to their children. Diseases that can be passed onto children from apparently healthy parents include sickle cell anaemia, cystic fibrosis, and a number of others. By taking these tests, you can minimize your chances of passing diseases onto your children.

Wellness

These tests can tell you about genetic factors including your natural genetic weight, your tendency/ability to experience deep sleep, predisposition for addiction, among many others. These results can tell you many things about your lifestyle and also help you to avoid certain problems that you’re genetically prone to.

Cellular Aging

Genetic testing can also be used to tell you about how your cells are aging, and how they will continue to age as you get older. This information may be useful in deciding whether you need to make any lifestyle choices to ensure that your cells are not aging too rapidly.

Interested in learning more, please check out our Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Best DNA Test.

How do the tests work?

Home tests generally work very much the same way traditional tests work: you submit a test sample, the sample is sent to a lab and analysed, and the results are sent to you. Instead of making an appointment and visiting a doctor directly, as is traditionally done, you order the test online, take the sample yourself, send them in a prepaid shipping box, and have the results sent to you directly. Not only is this method quicker and simpler, it allows us to take some of the burden away from the NHS, and may be especially useful for those who may feel anxious about going to the doctor’s surgery.

Why take a home test rather than a traditional one?

Although it’s a part of modern life, the process of booking appointments, going to see the doctor and waiting for results is tedious, especially when you factor in how long it can take to see a health professional. By ordering your test online and collecting the sample yourself, you’re cutting out all of that rigmarole from the process and making it considerably more convenient. For some people, taking a test at home may also make them feel more comfortable, as it allows them more privacy and eliminates the need for doctors to take samples, which can be quite an invasive procedure. As long as the instructions are fully adhered to, home health tests are as reliable as those taken at a doctor’s surgery. The samples are still tested by fully qualified health professionals and all test labs must be certified by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). As well as reliable tests results. Many test providers also offer professional consultation that gives you the opportunity to discuss your results with qualified medical professionals that can give you reliable, quality advice about any of the tests that you have taken.

How do the costs compare? Home tests vs. traditional.

The cost of getting traditional testing done by your doctor will depend on your insurance coverage and whether your doctor thinks the test is necessary. You may only have to pay a co-pay or additional fee for testing. Some insurances will completely cover certain traditional testing like STI screenings. Home health tests are not covered by insurance companies so the price the home health kit companies charge is the price you pay. It is best to get kits that test for multiple conditions or ailments to minimize the costs. Health savings accounts (HSA) and flexible spending accounts (FSA) generally can be used to pay for home health tests.

Are home tests FDA approved?

All at home tests are either FDA approved, or use technology that is FDA approved. In some cases (for example, saliva collection kits), FDA approval is not required, but the majority of STI tests, and any of those that are used to collect blood must be covered by FDA regulations. All at home tests are completely safe to use.

Will my privacy be protected when taking a home test?

Your privacy is if the utmost importance and companies licenced to provide home testing services must have strict privacy policies. Not only will your personal information be protected by industry standard encryption methods (AES-256), but your health and genetic information will not be shared with anyone unless the company receives explicit permission from you. Rest assured that your details are safe, and that all results will be handled with the utmost discretion.

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