When it comes to healthcare, knowledge is everything. An understanding of what’s wrong is the first step in making a diagnosis and deciding which treatment options are most viable.
For many conditions, a diagnosis is based on signs and symptoms, but for others, detection comes in the form of bloodwork and other forms of medical testing. The advantage of medical testing is clear: it provides chemically-backed proof of a specific condition or disease.
While many medical tests must be performed by trained healthcare professionals – and a doctor’s diagnosis is always essential before taking the results to the bank – many types of medical testing can be done at home. This gives individuals a greater level of control over their health as well as increased privacy.
It’s worth repeating that at-home testing is not a substitute for diagnostics conducted by licensed medical professionals. At-home tests serve as the first step toward determining what’s wrong in a convenient and confidential way, but they’re not enough to make a diagnosis. Rather, at-home tests exist to detect certain conditions and diseases, at which point further medical examination is required.
Having said that, it’s remarkable how much information about one’s health and wellness can be understood thanks to at-home tests. With this in mind, let’s take a look at ten conditions and diseases that can be detected with at-home testing kits:
At-home allergy tests can measure the levels of specific antibodies in the blood, indicating an allergic reaction to a particular substance. This can help individuals determine which substances are triggering their allergic reactions.
According to recent studies, over 90% of the American population suffers from chronic vitamin deficiency. A vitamin D test and similar testing for other vitamins can uncover deficiencies.
Home pregnancy tests can detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine, indicating pregnancy. Pregnancy tests remain one of the most commonly used at-home testing solutions.
Chances are everyone reading this has taken a COVID-19 test at home in the last two years. While relatively new in terms of availability and relevance, at-home COVID-19 testing will remain an essential means of suppressing infection rates for the foreseeable future.
With flu season underway, it’s important for people to know they have the option to test for influenza at home. Doing so can limit the number of people that are unknowingly exposed to this potentially lethal virus.
Rhinovirus (Common Cold)
Most people don’t need a test to determine they’ve come down with a bad cold. However, in the age of COVID-19, at-home rhinovirus testing can effectively eliminate one or more infectious diseases from the list of possibilities.
At-home cholesterol tests can measure the levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and HDL (“good”) cholesterol in the blood. This helps individuals with high cholesterol monitor their health more easily than if they had to be tested at their doctor’s office.
People with diabetes can monitor their blood glucose levels using at-home testing kits. However, while high blood sugar levels are an indicator of diabetes, a doctor will need to make a diagnosis in order to know for sure.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Several at-home tests are available for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. Due to the stigma surrounding STIs, at-home testing provides people with greater privacy and security.
At-home colon cancer tests, such as stool-based tests, can detect the presence of blood in the stool, indicating a possible cancerous growth in the colon. However, since false positives and false negatives are common, further examination will be required to determine whether cancerous growths are indeed present in the colon.
Diagnosing many conditions and diseases comes down to a trained healthcare professional making observations based on signs and symptoms. However, the list of conditions and diseases that can be detected with testing continues to increase. Moreover, these tests are being made available directly to the consumer. While at-home tests are not a substitute for a professional diagnosis, they effectively eliminate possibilities and indicate others. That makes at-home medical tests a valuable tool in the world of modern healthcare.
Julie Steinbeck is a freelance writer from Florida. She enjoys writing about business, finance, health, and travel.