Find out about the tests that help you check on your health from home
If you’re the sort of person who likes to prioritise your health, then there’s a lot you can do to monitor and manage your wellbeing from home.
And, as more people choose to take control of their health, we’re seeing an increase in the number of DIY at-home health tests available.
While doctors play an important role in diagnosing and managing ill-health, many people are proactively monitoring for common health conditions and, as a result, detecting potential problems earlier than they would otherwise.
Finding problems earlier means you’re able to catch conditions before they progress and take action to improve or enhance your healthAt-home health checks are becoming popular as more people take control of their health #wellness #health #pathology #athomehealthtest #healthathome Click To Tweet
Home health testing: easy, convenient and stress-free
Let’s face it – it’s easy to put off going to the doctor for a health check.
There’s making an appointment, waiting in line at the surgery, having blood taken (or being sent off to the pathology lab), or using the bathroom at the end of the hallway to provide a ‘quick’ sample…
But thanks to technology, there are now a number of routine health tests you can easily and conveniently take from home, without the queues or awkwardness.Home health testing can be easy, convenient and stress-free #wellness #health #pathology Click To Tweet
Many tests now can be taken without the need to give a blood sample at a local pathology centre.
For people who hate needles, the move to fingerprick blood testing – first introduced to Australia by MyHealthTest – has been a popular at-home testing development.
Other tests can be conducted at home on stools (poo), urine, saliva and sweat.
And, while no one likes to dwell on bodily functions (or excretions…), the reality is many people would prefer to organise these tests from home.
7 popular at-home health tests
Here’s a round-up of some of the most popular at-home health tests.
1. Diabetes – Did you know that 1 in 6 Australians has pre-diabetes, and a third of these people will go on to develop type 2 diabetes?
Common risk factors for type 2 diabetes include age, lifestyle and family history.
You can check your risk here, and also monitor your risk of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes with a simple at-home fingerprick blood test. This HbA1c test (also known as A1c, glycohaemoglobin and glycated haemoglobin) measures your average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months. And by knowing where you’re at puts you in the driving seat to manage your diabetes risk – if caught early.
Similar to the diabetes test, you can check your levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) with a fingerprick blood test *.
High levels of TSH mean an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism, while low TSH means an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism.
The good news is, once diagnosed, a thyroid problem can be treated with medication. And, if detected early it can reduce further complications and improve your quality of life.
3. Prostate problems – Changes in a man’s prostate gland can signal a range of issues, including an enlarged prostate, infection, or least commonly, prostate cancer.
Testing your levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA) can be done with an at-home PSA fingerprick blood test*. This will show if your PSA levels are within the expected range for your age, or if they’re indicating there could be a problem.
4. Gut health – A new test has been developed that reports on your gut microbiome – these are the millions of bacteria which live in your digestive system.
The test reports on the micro-organisms inhabiting your gut and identifies dietary suggestions that may improve your overall wellbeing. The test involves providing a stool sample for analysis.
5. DNA testing – DNA testing can provide a range of health information – from assessing your risk of inherited diseases, to relationship and paternity testing.
Most test samples are based on an oral (saliva) swab. DNA testing has been the subject of some media interest, given the potential insurance and health implications that comes with this new knowledge.
6. Urine testing – Urine testing can help you understand your health and diagnose various conditions. A dipstick in a urine sample can reveal the presence of things like ketones, glucose, protein, vitamin C, white blood cells, nitrite and blood.
Some home urine testing services also alert you to problems that require follow up with a GP.
7. And there’s more… A number of new home testing options are in development, including tests for HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and vitamin and hormone deficiencies.
Have you tried any at-home health tests yet?
Consider your own health, family history and risk factors and decide which tests might be right for you. If you receive any test results outside of the expected range, it’s important to follow these up with your family doctor.
*MyHealthTest’s TSH and PSA tests are temporarily unavailable, but expected to be available for purchase soon. You can register your interest to be the first to know as soon as they become available for purchase.
Blogs on related topics
- Pre-diabetes and heart disease: What you need to know
- How do you know if you have diabetes
- Top healthcare technology trends to keep you healthy and well