'Do-It-Yourself' Health Checks

Health Alert 70

At home pregnancy tests, glucose tests, and blood pressure equipment have become popular in the past couple of decades. You may not know that many more tests are now available for home use. You can efficiently monitor several important aspects of your health in the convenience of your home.

These tests should not take the place of a physical examination. They also may need your doctor’s interpretation. Yet, I have seen home screening tests succeed in revealing problems earlier. They can also track existing problems closer. And unfortunately insurance companies have a financial incentive to limit testing. At home tests can circumvent their bureaucracy.

* Health Care At Home *

There are a few different kinds of tests that you can take at home. With some tests, you can get the results in minutes. With other tests, you take them in your home, and then send it to a lab. The lab calls you with the results in a week.

If you choose a home health test:

• Read and follow the instructions carefully

• Be aware of activities you may have to refrain from before testing (certain foods, medications)

• Prepare the specimen exactly as the directions state (some specimens need special care in order to be tested in a lab)

The FDA regulates home health tests. I have found them reliable and adequately accurate. If your test results are abnormal, discuss them with your doctor immediately.

You can look for home health tests in supermarkets, drug stores and health food stores. But I have found the best sources on the Internet. You can find most at www.home-healthtesting.com or www.athomehealthtests.com. Or ask your doctor if he knows of credible home health tests.

Al Sears MD