The Benefits and Drawbacks of Home Test Kits
The home testing boom began in the 1970s with pregnancy tests. Now there are quick and simple tests for ovulation, too. You can monitor your blood pressure as well as test for HIV, colon cancer, hepatitis C, deteriorating vision, andurinary tract infections. Some products provide instantaneous results, whereas others are sample collection devices that need to be mailed to a laboratory for processing.
Consumers like home testing because it is convenient. A simple quick test at home avoids a trip to the doctor's office, which can take a large chunk of time. Home testing is also anonymous. You may get fast results, or have to set up a private personal identification number (PIN). Either way, the results are for you alone.
Critics say some kits promote undue fear and are a waste of time and money because they are unreliable or give false results if not done correctly. However, the increasing desire of consumers to detect potential health problems early is making the home testing trend widespread.
If you are looking into home testing, here is some information about what tests are available and how they work.
Last reviewedJanuary 2013by Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.