Pros and Cons of At-Home Health Testing Kits

HomeArticlesPros and Cons of At-Home Health Testing Kits

Few could argue that Covid-19 has drastically changed the way we live, work, and function today. These changes are perhaps most evident in the medical industry. In an attempt to work within pandemic-centric concerns, there are many new methods of medical diagnostics and testing.

For instance, many of us are taking advantage of online consultations with our physicians and receive treatments through internet video conferences with medical professionals. Another modern trend in medicine is at-home health testing kits. Here are a few insights into the pros and cons of using home health test kits.

What is an At-Home Health Testing Kit?

If you’re experiencing certain symptoms, an at-home health testing kit can provide an easy way to get results about your health condition.  These health kits are packaged with testing equipment such as a swab or finger prick and also include biohazard packaging within which to contain your sample for mailing.

You can purchase a home health testing kit online or at your local drug store. After following the test instructions, you will send your sample to the lab testing facility pre-printed on the kit mailing label. Some testing kits will send you the results of your test within a few days, in other cases, the results may take up to two weeks.

Advantages of Home Health Testing Kits

If you’re like most people, you may tend to avoid going to the doctor for many reasons. Firstly, it can be a hassle. Taking time out of your busy workweek, and sitting in the waiting room for hours before even seeing your physician is not something to look forward to.  Secondly, visiting the doctor in person can be an expensive proposition, especially if you are uninsured. Lastly, due to looming concerns about Covid-19, going out in public, particularly to medical clinics, can be unsettling. 

At-home health testing kits allow you to avoid all of these inconveniences. The biggest advantage of testing from home is eliminating all the stress and annoyances that go along with getting a traditional diagnosis at a doctor’s office.

Another pro to at-home health testing is the luxury of privacy. These tests are also less invasive than traditional exams.  Many people appreciate the feeling of being more in control of their testing and health within the sanctity of their own homes.  This leads us to an advantageous side-effect of home health testing. 

As more people are feeling empowered to do testing from home, they are taking a more active role in their healthcare and securing the future for their wellbeing. For example, an at-home cervical health screening can render an early diagnosis of certain cancers and early detection may significantly improve chances for optimal recovery.  

Not only do at-home health tests encourage people to get proactive about diagnosing symptoms early, but many tests also have the option to submit biosamples anonymously. This is appealing to those who are concerned about socially sensitive conditions such as sexually transmitted infections.

Disadvantages of Home Health Testing

While the reliability of home medical testing has improved greatly since the first dime store pregnancy test, they are not 100% accurate.  This could cause a false sense of security, or a deep sense of urgency depending upon the results of the home test.  If you’re dealing with a serious health issue, it’s best to go to your physician or a specialist to get a full medical diagnosis.

Another issue with accuracy deals with under or overdiagnosis. Your diagnosis may vary wildly depending upon the laboratory analyzing your sample. You must also be mindful of proper sample collection.  If the test instructions are not followed precisely, there may be a risk of contamination which could skew the data of your medical results.

Types of At Home Health Tests

Some of the more common at-home health test kits deal with family medical histories. You can request a kit that matches your DNA with your family ancestry and the results can show you diseases that are common in your family history.  This can be helpful to your health because some diseases and cancers are hereditary.

If you’ve tried every remedy for allergies under the sun but still suffer during allergy season, you might consider an at-home allergy testing kit.  There is a wide range of allergy testing kits you can do at home, including the detection of food allergens, pollens, animal hair, and more.

Other vital home medical tests include the detection of some cancers such as colon, breast, and ovarian cancers. Home tests are also available for other serious conditions such as STDs and HIV yet also cover basic analytics about cholesterol levels, hormonal imbalances, and heavy metal testing.

Is an At-Home Health Test Kit Right for You?

If your health condition is not life-threatening, and you appreciate the lower-cost, non-invasive, low-stress options to health screening in the privacy of your own home, a DIY health test might be the right choice for you.  

However, if you are dealing with serious symptoms, or a home health test is not available for your condition, you’re better off going to the doctor. At the end of the day, home health test kits are convenient, but getting a full diagnosis from your doctor is still the best way to get a full overview of your health status.

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