What Health Tests Can You Do at Home and How Accurate Are They?

As telemedicine became bigger than ever, many people began to wonder if they could do tests at home.

Doing Health Tests at Home

As telemedicine became bigger than ever, many people began to wonder if they could do tests at home. Nowadays, many at-home health tests don't require you to go to a hospital or a testing facility.

It's important to remember that these tests are not always 100% accurate. You should ask your doctor before taking diagnostic tests at home. They'll tell you the accuracy rate and how the results compare to conventional lab testing.

Instead of waiting in a laboratory, you can do an at-home cholesterol test if you aren't scared of pricking your finger.

At Home Cholesterol Tests

Instead of waiting in a laboratory, you can do an at-home cholesterol test if you aren't scared of pricking your finger. An at-home cholesterol test kit lets you check your total cholesterol levels.

You get your results in minutes instead of waiting for days or weeks.

Typically, a test kit will have test strips and a lancet to draw blood. You have to prick your finger using the lancet. Then, put a drop of your blood on the test strip. The strip will change color according to the amount of cholesterol in your blood.

The color guide is included in the kit. You can match the color of your test strip with the guide to determine your cholesterol level.

Experts at Harvard believe that the test results from at-home cholesterol tests are a bit foggy, mainly because people squeeze too much blood on the strip. Too large a sample throws off the results. Even if you get accurate results, they're not of much use as these at-home kits measure total cholesterol.

When you get your test done at the lab, the report will also show the levels of low-density and high-density lipoprotein, which your doctor needs to give a diagnosis.

At-home blood pressure tests are possibly one of the most common procedures.

Blood Pressure Tests - Accurate or Not?

At-home blood pressure tests are possibly one of the most common procedures. You only need a sphygmomanometer, which is readily available at a pharmacy.

Before you check your blood pressure, make sure you're relaxed and comfortable. Check your blood pressure on an empty bladder. A full bladder can affect the reading.

The device comes with a cuff. Put it on your arm and secure it tightly in place. Press the button on the monitor. The cuff will inflate to a certain point and then deflate. Don't move your arm while this is happening.

In a few seconds, you'll see the results on the monitor. Normal blood pressure levels are 120 over 80, which means the diastolic pressure is 80 while the systolic pressure is 120.

At-home blood pressure tests are pretty accurate, but make sure you check your levels at the same time every day. Depending on your condition, your doctor may also recommend you keep track of your blood pressure at different times in the day.

A pregnancy test is used to determine the levels of a hormone named human chorionic gonadotropin.

Pregnancy Test

A pregnancy test is used to determine the levels of a hormone named human chorionic gonadotropin. Your body produces this particular hormone only when you're pregnant.

To conduct this test, you'll have to urinate on a pregnancy strip. You can also urinate in a cup and dip the strip in it. The strip will display a double line, a single colored line, or a plus sign if you're pregnant. The brand of the pregnancy strip determines the symbol that indicates pregnancy.

Many companies claim their home pregnancy tests are 99% accurate. However, the ability of an at-home test to diagnose pregnancy in women differs based on certain factors. You should go to your gynecologist to confirm the pregnancy.

When the accuracy of at-home tests is questioned, glucose tests often pass with flying colors.

Glucose Test

When the accuracy of at-home tests is questioned, glucose tests often pass with flying colors. This test is necessary for people with diabetes since it helps them keep track of their glucose levels.

To take this test, you have to prick your finger with a lancet. Put a drop of blood on the strip. Insert this strip into the glucose test monitor. The meter will show a reading of your glucose levels. The readings display differently depending on the brand.

At-home glucose test meters usually are pretty accurate, but some factors can affect their accuracy. These include extreme temperatures, test strip problems, and improper coding.

According to the CDC, people who have symptoms of Covid-19 or have been in contact with someone who is diagnosed with the viral condition can conduct at-home tests.

At-Home Covid-19 Test

According to the CDC, people who have symptoms of Covid-19 or have been in contact with someone who is diagnosed with the viral condition can conduct at-home tests.

Depending on the testing kit you've bought, you may have to give a saliva sample or a nasal specimen by inserting a swab into your nose. Make sure to follow all the instructions on the manufacturer's pamphlet before taking the test. Record the results as the instructions say. Otherwise, you may get an incorrect test result.

Sources:

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

  1. Getty Images
  2. iStock
  3. Getty Images
  4. Getty Images
  5. iStock
  6. Getty Images

REFERENCES:

  • Harvard Health Publishing: "Cholesterol testing at home: It may be faster, but is it better?"
  • Australian Prescriber: "Home monitoring of blood pressure."
  • Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers: "Measuring Your Blood Pressure at Home."
  • Mayo Clinic: "Home pregnancy tests: Can you trust the results?"
  • MedlinePlus: "At-Home Medical Tests."
  • Centers for Disease and Prevention Control: "Self-Testing."
WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information