At home blood tests

Will you be paying closer attention to your health? You can start right in your own home.

NBC News medical contributor offers six do-it-yourself health tests that take just 1 minute each.

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Remember, a positive result is just an indicator of a symptom and doesn’t necessarily mean you are sick.

Cross-legged squat test for agility and longevity

  • Start off with 10 points. Cross your legs, squat down and sit down on the floor; then get back up. If you don’t use hands, feet or wobble at all, you keep your 10 points. If any part of your body touches down, you lose a point.
  • Aim to score an 8 or higher in this test of muscle strength, balance, flexibility and agility.
  • How can this test predict longevity? “According to researchers a couple of years ago, it did so with alarming accuracy,” Azar said. “The lower your number, the greater likelihood it is that you’re going to die in the next six years.”

Bad breath test

  • Scrape the back of your tongue with a spoon, seal the spoon in a plastic bag and put it under a bright light for one minute. Then, smell it.
  • A healthy tongue coating should be clear, but if what you find on the spoon is thick, colored or has an unpleasant odor, it could be an early sign of problems with your respiratory system, liver, kidneys, hormones or gut.
  • Most cases of bad breath will be related to gum disease or tonsils, but really ominous odors could be a sign of a larger health problem. Azar said a fruity smell could be a sign of diabetes; an ammonia smell could be related to kidney problems, other smells could indicate gastric or lung problems.
  • And while you’re at it, take note that this test is the closest indicator of how your breath smells to other people.

Clock test for dementia

  • Draw a clock on a piece of paper, add the numbers in the right order and make the hands point to 3:40. You get one point each for drawing a closed circle, properly placed numbers, getting all 12 numbers and properly placed hands. A score lower than four points could be a cause for concern.

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The test assesses cognitive functions like memory, problem solving and executive functions like planning.

“It’s a good screening test for early dementia,” Azar said. Studies have shown it’s a good predictor of cognitive health.

If a loved one doesn’t do well on the test, get a screening for dementia.

Window test for eyes and vision loss

  • Look at a door frame or large window frame from across a room where you can see vertical and horizontal lines. Cover one eye and look at it for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  • You should be able to see the edges of the frame as vertical and horizontal parallel lines without any wavy or missing parts. If the door frame edges seem like they have kinks or are distorted, or bow in or out, this may indicate that you have macular degeneration, one of the most common causes of vision loss in people over 50.

Wobble test for faulty thyroid

  • Stretch out your hand with your palm down, and place a piece of paper on top of it.
  • Look for trembling or shaking of the paper, which could be a sign of hyperthyroidism.
  • The condition, in which the thyroid is revved up and causes the body’s functions to go into hyperdrive, is more common in women, who are four times more likely than men to have it.
  • The movement could be too small to see on its own, but the paper accentuates any shaking.
  • Keep in mind, though, that a slight tremble is common, and can be caused by caffeine, asthma medication, anxiety or low blood-sugar levels.

Cushion test for artery problems

  • Lie on your back on a bed and elevate both legs to a 45-degree angle on cushions. Hold them there for one minute then quickly hang your legs down over the side of the bed at 90 degrees.
  • If one or both of your feet or legs become very pale when elevated but take several minutes to return to their regular color, it could be a sign of peripheral arterial disease.

Risk factors for peripheral arterial disease, in which the arteries that supply the leg muscles become narrowed, are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

One caveat: This test can give a false positive in healthy people (it could be sign of poor circulation linked to Raynaud’s disease). Before you worry about peripheral arterial disease, additional signs to look for are cramping, pain and tiredness in the legs while walking or climbing stairs.

TODAY.com contributor Lisa A. Flam is a news and lifestyles reporter in New York. Follow her on Twitter: @lisaflam

5 Medical Tests You Can Do at Home

Do you ever wonder about your own body? I spend hours at work each day CT scanning, drawing lab values and generally investigating the in’s and out’s of patient’s medical problems while largely ignoring myself. Fortunately, I am young, fit and generally in good health so illness doesn’t typically send me running to the nearest clinic. But, I’m often curious about my own lab values and risk factors. Recently, I’ve come across some at-home medical tests and have begun to do a little testing of my own.

The at-home medical testing market is booming. While some are against removing the traditional medical system from the equation and think individuals aren’t smart enough or responsible enough to interpret their own results, I embrace this movement full-on. Here are some at-home medical test you can do to help remain in good health, or simply to appease your curiosity.

1. At Home Cholesterol Testing

I hate to say it, but I don’t really practice what I preach. I instruct my patients to get their cholesterol checked while my own personal levels remain a great mystery. Last month I solved this problem without stepping foot in a clinic, hospital or lab. No venipuncture for me.

Instead, I hopped online and purchased an at-home cholesterol testing kit. Once you buy the cholesterol testing device which runs about $125, you can test away at a low cost for life (or until the machine breaks…). The only problem with home cholesterol test devices is that they do not test LDL. So, if you’re planning on going the DIY route for lipid profiling, get a device that tests HDL and triglycerides. Then, you can calculate your LDL online.

I’m happy to report after my at home finger pricking experiment, I discovered my cholesterol levels are excellent validating my negligence in getting a yearly cholesterol test.

2. Gut Check- Stool Sample Analysis

This at home test can only fall under the “for curiosity” category. In an effort to analyze the gut’s microbial contents, researchers for the American Gut Project are encouraging the general public to send in their own stool samples.

For $69, you can mail off your own feces receiving an analysis of the microbes living in your gut. Admittedly, although I think this sounds like an interesting experiment, I have not yet gathered the motivation to collect my own stool.

3. Genetic Testing

Companies are cropping up all over the internet offering low-cost genetic testing. Simply swab your cheek, send off the swab and within a few days you will know if you are at risk for a variety of genetic conditions like Tay-Sach’s disease. Concerned you may pass Maple Syrup Urine Disease to your children? For around $99, these tests can give you answers.

Have I participated in direct to consumer genetic testing? Nope. I can’t decide if I really want to know what future problems I face. Furthermore, geneticist Daniel MacArthur states “Genetics currently sucks at predicting what types of diseases will kill most people”. Maybe I carry a gene predisposing me to some horrible disease. Even so, I don’t want to waste my days worrying about what may never come.

Genetic tests may satisfy your curiosity but are not for the emotionally unprepared participant.

4. EKG from Your iPhone

You can go online and purchase a standard sized EKG machine for yourself. But, I’m guessing you don’t have the closet space to store it. Instead, if you are curious about your heart’s electrical activity, you can run a rhythm strip right from your iPhone.

To run an EKG, simply download the AliveCor’s Heart Monitor app to your iPhone. The catch? You do need a doctor’s prescription (prescribing apps is a new trend in medicine) to download the app so a visit to a medical provider will be necessary to initiate this at home testing trend.

5. Body Fat Monitor

My trainer used to check my body fat after my workout session each week. My body fat level proved much more helpful in keeping me healthy than my weight. Skip dinner and spend the calories downing three margaritas instead? Your scale might not notice, but your body fat levels certainly will fluctuate.

Even if you aren’t a workout fiend, this little tool, available for just $30 on Amazon, can be quite helpful in keeping your diet on track.

Whether you are trying to track your health or are just plain bored, the at-home medical testing craze is here. Techies are constantly designing new apps and devices making medical testing less expensive and more accessible. Bring it on!

Have you tried any at home or online medical tests? Share by commenting below!

Most popular home medical tests

  • Pregnancy

  • Ovulation

  • Glucose monitoring

  • Cholesterol levels

  • Hepatitis C

  • HIV

  • Prothrombin (used for people on blood-thinning drugs like Coumadin or Warfarin, to check if their blood clots properly).

  • Strep

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

  • Menopause

  • Vaginal pH

Which home medical tests are FDA-regulated?

With all the tests on the market—and the list keeps growing—it’s important to realize that some, but not all, are reviewed by the FDA; usually those are the tests for moderate to high-risk medical purposes. In reviewing a test, they evaluate if it’s accurate, reliable and valid.

Consumers can ask their pharmacist or vendor selling the test if it’s regulated by the FDA to ensure the test is “reasonably safe or effective.” It’s important to carefully follow all the instructions, keep good records of your testing and to see your healthcare provider if you believe the test results are incorrect.

You can check to see if a particular test is FDA-regulated with this tool on the agency’s site.

The bottom line: A visit to—or a conversation with—your healthcare provider (HCP) may save you money before you decide on a test, or even after you take one. By knowing your full medical or performing an exam, your HCP will be better able to direct you to the tests you really need —or help you understand the results of the one you’ve already taken.

Find out what Cleveland Clinic experts have to say about at-home DNA tests.

With home health testing kits on the rise, here are five DIY tests you can do at home

HOME testing is more popular than ever, and pharmacies now sell an array of diagnostic medical devices that could help you to take your wellbeing into your own hands.

Whether it’s long waiting times at your GP surgery, or a set of embarrassing symptoms that you’re too shy to get checked out, there are plenty of reasons why people might choose to cut out middle man (or woman) and check themselves at home.

Simple to use and highly convenient, many of these tests can be done in minutes and the results can be as instantaneous too. That being said, like any medical test, over-the-counter products are not foolproof and should only be used as a rough guide, but they can often give you an indicator of whether something is off.

If you receive any unusual results, or your symptoms prevail or are getting worse, remember to follow up with a doctor to check whether any further testing or treatment is needed.

Here are five DIY health tests and what they’re for…

1. Blood pressure:

High blood pressure usually doesn’t cause any noticeable symptoms, but if left unchecked, it can be very serious – so experts suggest that all adults get their numbers checked at least once a year.

While most people will have this done as part of their annual review with their GP, you can give yourself peace of mind by buying your own blood pressure monitor, such as Boots Pharmaceuticals Advanced Blood Pressure Monitor with Atrial Fibrillation Alert (£84.99, Boots).

Much like the device used at the doctor’s surgery, it comes with a cuff that you wrap around your upper arm. The band will slowly inflate to get an accurate reading on the accompanying digital monitor. It’s always good to remember that certain factors – such as stress, smoking, caffeine, cold temperatures and talking – can cause your blood to temporarily rise, so sit down calmly and try to avoid these things when you’re taking your recordings.

2. DNA disease risk kits:

At-home DNA testing kits have surged in popularity recently, thanks to their improved affordability and convenience. Different brands offer different insights, and while most promise to help you to delve into your family history, others, such as The Atlas ‘Listen To Your Genes’ DNA Test (£149, atlasbiomed.com), claim they can reveal which diseases or health complications you may be at risk of.

You simply spit in the supplied tube and send it back in the original box, which already includes prepaid postage. The lab then check 750,000 polymorphisms (gene variants) and interprets the data, updating your results to an accompanying app.

As well as checking for the risk of diseases like diabetes and Crohn’s, the analysis says it can help you understand how your body metabolises fats, pick up on food intolerances, and provide insights to make your workouts more effective. However, it’s good to keep in mind that results from genetic testing kits are not always guaranteed to be accurate.

3. Cholesterol:

After turning 40, people are encouraged to have their cholesterol checked every five years. Cholesterol is a fatty substance that occurs naturally in the body that’s essential for healthy functioning. However, having too much ‘bad cholesterol’ can be a problem, and is known to increase the risk of coronary and vascular disease.

Home cholesterol kits, such as Boots Pharmaceuticals Cholesterol Home Test Kit (£11.99, Boots) can indicate your blood cholesterol levels. You simply have to hold your middle finger against a lancet to prick it, wait until blood forms and then drop it on to the test card provided. After a few minutes, you can match the colour of your results against an accompanying results chart.

4. Sexually transmitted infections:

Getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is straightforward and confidential, but many people put off going to the clinic to get things checked because of embarrassment.

Many high street pharmacies, like Superdrug and Boots, sell home test kit to help detect infections like chlamydia and gonorrhoea. Most will require you to either take a swab or urine sample and post it away. You’ll then receive your results within a few days of your sample reaching the lab.

Some STIs, like chlamydia, can show no symptoms, so it’s recommended those who are sexually active get tested annually. However, if you think you have put yourself at risk of HIV, you should always get your blood tested at a sexual health clinic.

5. Blood sugar:

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, is a major concern and can affect people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Having a blood sugar level that’s too high can make you feel unwell, and having it often can be bad for your health.

Blood sugar levels can be measured in seconds at home by using a blood glucose meter, also known as a glucometer. A tiny drop of blood from the finger or forearm is placed on a test strip and inserted into the glucometer, such as the Kinetik Wellbeing Blood Glucose Monitoring System (£24.99, Argos). The blood sugar (or glucose) level is then displayed digitally just seconds later.

Remember…

While home testing kits may have their benefits, they don’t replace the role of doctors and it’s always best to get any worrying or ongoing symptoms properly checked out.

The Best At Home Health Tests

November 4, 2019 posted by Kate Kordsmeier — in Health

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Feeling unwell, struggling with a particular health issue, or simply want to optimize your wellness? We’ve rounded up the best health tests and kits you can conveniently take at home to gain insight on your hormones, gut health, genetics, food sensitivities, and more so you can make informed lifestyle changes that will actually make a difference in your health and wellbeing.

UPDATE: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been updated to reflect new information, tips, and reputable companies.

Nearly seven years ago, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Finally I had an explanation for the chronic fatigue, constipation, acne, and anxiety that had plagued me for years.

So why did it take so long for doctors to figure out what was going on with me? In part, it was due to a lack of health testing, and then, even when I did have thyroid tests run, many doctors used outdated ranges or only tested for TSH. So my diagnosis went under the radar.

It wasn’t until I started seeing a holistic doctor who ran a complete thyroid panel that I was finally diagnosed, and more importantly, treated!

But having to pay for expensive doctor’s visits, and being forced to rely on a doctor to write up the lab order (not to mention the high fees labs charged on top of the visit) quickly became impractical.

So I was beyond thrilled when I came across EverlyWell, a revolutionary company providing at-home health test kits for anyone to take in the comfort and convenience of their own home.

EverlyWell’s at-home thyroid test kit (which costs just $159) arrived in a cute little box with clear and simple instructions. A little finger prick (I was shocked at how little it hurt, as I was nervous about using a needle on myself, but it was easy to do and I barely felt it), a few drops of blood on their test sheet and I just mailed it back in the pre-paid envelope.

Even better? The results arrived in my inbox just a few days later, and they were easy to understand in a clean and precise format that makes treatment easier!

Though I often lament modern life and how it can make us all sicker, I have to admit that being able to take control of my health from the comfort of my own house was pretty amazing.

Today, it’s as easy as taking at-home health tests to discover your current health risks, conditions, and imbalances, showing you what you need to do to become your healthiest self!

After I became a fan of EverlyWell, I realized there are other companies out there too offering similar at-home tests from genetic, DNA and hormone test kits to food sensitivity and metabolism tests and many more. We’ve rounded up the best at-home health tests and kits so you can conveniently understand what’s ailing you and make informed diet and lifestyles changes that matter. Read on!

First, a quick disclaimer: health tests aren’t perfect. They reflect a snapshot in time to give you insight, so take your results with a grain of salt and don’t let any of the potential results completely freak you out. You don’t need to overhaul your entire life based on what one test recommends. Regular testing can help give you a more complete picture, but also monitoring how you actually feel, what symptoms you’re having and looking at your body holistically is key. Work with your doctor, and keep in mind that while these tests are great at providing us with useful information, they are also for-profit companies who want to sell you their products. You do what’s best for you!

The Best At-Home Health Tests

EverlyWell

EverlyWell provides reliable and convenient at-home health tests that work with the same labs doctors’ offices use, only deleting the middle man so you don’t have to take time off work to go to a doctor’s office multiple times! Using a blood sample that’s taken from the convenience of your home, you’re given easy to understand results that are verified by a board-certified physician in your state prior to you receiving them.

While EverlyWell doesn’t diagnose specific diseases or ailments, they do offer lifestyle guidance based on your health results, and make the results easy to interpret and share with your health care provider, family or friends!

EverlyWell’s partner labs are certified to meet CLIA standards (the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988), which means that the labs must meet certain quality standards, including qualifications for individuals who perform the test and other standards that ensure the accuracy and reliability of results.

Available tests:

In addition to the Thyroid health test I took, EverlyWell offers a huge range of other tests including but not limited too:

  • Women’s Health / Men’s Health
  • Metabolism
  • Food Sensitivity
  • Vitamin D and Inflammation
  • Cholesterol and Lipids
  • Heavy Metals
  • Sleep and Stress
  • Sexual Health (see website for various options)

What’s the cost? From $59 to $399, depending on the test, and they’re usually HSA/FSA covered.

Body Health IQ

Body Health IQ, similar to EverlyWell, has a wide range of tests from CLIA-certified labs including thyroid and metabolism, Vitamin D, food sensitivity, sexual health, and women’s and men’s health. Once you get your results, you can schedule a telehealth wellness session to review them with an expert provider.

We recently took the Female IQ Bundle ($229) that tests Progesterone, Free testosterone, Cortisol trend with four samples, Estradiol, DHEA, TSH, FT3 and FSH. This is a comprehensive panel and testing your cortisol throughout the day (with four samples) will give a much better overall picture than testing just once. Once we get the results, we’ll be sure to update this post!

What’s the cost? $69 – $279, depending on the test

Wellnicity

Take Wellnicity’s health quiz to find out which test is right for you, or choose from a huge variety of tests including hormone health, gut health, stress, thyroid, food sensitivities, and all kinds of tests related to your brain’s wellness (like sleep, mood, focus, and memory).

I took the Brain Balance Test ($239) that tests your neurotransmitters like Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Epinephrine, Norepi/Epi Ratio, GABA, Glutamate, and Histamine levels. I found my results fascinating, but I’ll admit that when I shared them with my holistic psychiatrist, she encouraged me to not live and die by these numbers as they can change significantly throughout the day. So, what’s the point? I think it can be helpful to see where you might have some deficiencies and you can use food, supplements and lifestyle changes to try to combat those. But do you need to buy hundreds of dollars worth of the supplements they recommend and/or freak out that your body is all out of whack. Probably not. Grain of salt, people!

What’s the cost? $59 – $345, depending on the test. Use the coupon code ROOT+REVEL for 20% off until November 30th, 2019–don’t delay!

At-Home DNA + Genetics Testing

23andMe

23andMe is a health test service that offers genetic DNA testing and analysis by studying your 23 pairs of chromosomes through a simple saliva sample. The DNA analysis is performed in US laboratories that are also CLIA- certified.

The health reports include a Genetic Health Risk report, telling you about the genetic variants you have that are associated with increased risk for certain health conditions, and a Carrier status report, telling you whether you carry genetic variants that may not affect your health, but could affect the health of your family.

Available tests:

  1. Ancestry Service – get a breakdown of your global ancestry by percentages, connect with DNA relatives and more
  2. Health + Ancestry Service – a more comprehensive service including 75+ reports on your ancestry, traits, health and more

What’s the cost? $99 for Ancestry Service; $199 for Health + Ancestry Service

Read this post that breaks down my results in detail to see what you can expect:

Nutrition Genome

Nutrition Genome is a comprehensive analysis covering 85+ clinically relevant genes across all of the major biochemical pathways, giving you a personal blueprint of your epigenetics. While our DNA remains fixed for life, nutrition and lifestyle turn ‘on’ or ‘off’ certain genes, and therefore we can learn more about how to optimize our health through this powerful technology.

With Nutrition Genome you’ll get your strengths and weaknesses breakdown, personalized DNA-based grocery list, 50+ page evidence-based analysis to customize your diet and lifestyle based on your genetics, toxins/food additives to avoid, recommended bloodwork, and cutting edge nutrigenomics research on each gene.

What’s the cost? $399

At-Home Gut Health Tests

UNI KEY Health Solutions

UNI KEY Health offers a huge range of wellness products, including at-home tests for hormones, adrenal stress, parasites, testosterone, tissue mineral analysis, and an expanded GI panel. I took the expanded GI panel, which can detect parasites, pathogenic bacteria, candida, yeast, fungus, worms, protozoa, common food allergies, and intestinal function markers. This is incredibly important for anyone with digestion issues!

The results go directly to acclaimed nutritionist Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS., who analyzes the results. From there you receive a personalized letter of recommendations and test results which may include natural herbal formulas, nutritional supplements, diet, and lifestyle changes.

I thought this test was really cool to see your levels of things like parasites, pathogenic bacterias, and candida, but just remember that some companies (like UNI KEY, for example) also have supplements that they may try to sell you on after you take their test. Don’t get scared into taking all the things they recommend, unless that truly feels like the right thing for you to do. Be your own detective and health advocate and remember that these tests are a snapshot in time. You know your body best!

What’s the cost? $475

Thryve Inside

Thryve Inside offers personalized probiotics, adapted from a DNA sample, to target your root causes of gut health imbalances. Experiencing digestive, immune, weight, energy, and mood problems? Take Thryve’s Gut Health Test to receive a personalized plan, enjoy the best foods for you, and get customized probiotics to repair your gut.

I like how this company is truly personalized, and their product lines and results are really clear cut.

What’s the cost? $99

At-Home Food Sensitivity Tests

First, a caveat to food sensitivity testing: a food sensitivity shows up because there is stress in your gut, which may or may not be due to food. Practicing stress management techniques can sometimes heal your gut more than an elimination diet, and unhealthy patterns like disordered eating actually increase your risk for GI disorders. (source) While food elimination diets may serve some people in some cases, they can also cause a ton of stress. I recommend learning more about intuitive eating and how this gentler approach to nutrition helps create peace around food.

Intolerance Labs

Amazingly, Intolerance Labs tests your tolerance for 350 foods and 350 non-foods (like pollen, pet hair, detergents, etc.) for a super reasonable price. Within three days of receiving your hair sample, you’ll receive a list of foods that are classified as having an 85% or greater chance of being problematic for your body at this time. They even have a 6-week money back guarantee if you’re unhappy with the results!

What’s the cost? £47 (about $60)

Modern Allergy Management

In addition to using a hair sample to test for 750 intolerances, Modern Allergy Management can also test for heavy metals, candida, and even has special intolerance tests for dogs, cats, and horses! They also offer targeted supplements based on what you need given your results.

What’s the cost? $55 – $325, depending on the test

Pinnertest

Pinnertest is a food intolerance blood test that identifies potential problem foods in an individual’s diet. Basically, by analyzing a small blood sample, advanced microarray technology can determine the foods that may cause digestion problems, inflammation, and contribute to negative symptoms like fatigue, migraines, bloating, weight gain, acne and more. Your results will indicate what foods to avoid (and whether it’s a low, moderate or high reaction) plus the foods that you have no reaction to and can eat freely.

What’s the cost? $380

What at-home tests have you done to get a window into your health? Let us know in the comments below!

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Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

posted by Kate Kordsmeier on November 4, 2019
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Attention healthcare startups: Time to apply to MedCity INVEST Pitch Perfect

An Austin, Texas-based startup is hoping to capitalize on a gap in the home lab test market by offering three new diagnostic tests, each for less than $100. EverlyWell this week introduced at-home tests for cardiovascular health, metabolism and for thyroid and chronic inflammation.

EverlyWell, which launched operations in April, is targeting women as its primary customer audience, according to Founder and CEO Julia Taylor Cheek. Cheek said several of the products are designed to help women understand their hormone levels and bio-markers. She also noted that 80 percent of family healthcare decisions are made by women.

Down the road, there will be many opportunities for what Cheek called “subscription-based testing” for people with thyroid and cardiovascular conditions who require regular monitoring and testing.

“Eventually, we hope to expand into other areas, for example, like STD (sexually transmitted diseases) testing,” she predicted. “But for now, we are targeting the consumers who want access to their own test results.”

She said EverlyWell, which currently operates in 46 states, has contracted with a network of physicians to comply with some state laws requiring physician prescriptions for lab tests. “We’ve changed the testing process so that consumers can order tests themselves, but we submit those requests through a board certified physician who authorizes the tests. And on the back end, a physician reviews the results before we send them to the consumer,” Cheek said.

“We also inform consumers of ‘critical values’ — abnormal or problematic test results — so they are aware and can take the next step to follow up with a physician.”

She pointed out that clinical laboratories EverlyWell uses are regulated by the federal Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments program, which sets standards to ensure the accuracy and reliability of lab test results. That’s a requirement wounded unicorn Theranos worked around, with a waiver from the Food and Drug Administration.

Cheek said that all labs that EverlyWell contracts with are CLIA-certified and accredited and the test components the company sends consumers to collect blood and saliva are commonly used in the medical industry.

“We’ve taken fully certified labs and created a new distribution center for them,” she explained.

She said individual consumers ordering the tests pay EverlyWell directly as out-of-pocket expenses.

Cheek said it’s been her mission to empower consumers to create their own preventive care program by monitoring their own testing. “Our goal is to focus on the prevention market and offer tests so consumers can reduce the likelihood of chronic illness occurring years later.”

She said the home test lab has received surprisingly warm reviews from physicians. According to Cheek, a former vice president with the financial services firm, MoneyGram International:

We’ve seen a tidal wave shift in healthcare,” Cheek said. “People are taking more and more control over their health. A higher percentage of people than you think are never contacted with abnormal test results. Many people frustrated by the failure of their physicians to respond with their test results. As docs continue to be overburdened, we think it is helpful to offload those test results to consumers directly in ways that they understand. It’s your body and you have the right to that information.

In addition to the cardiovascular, metabolism and thyroid and chronic inflammation tests, EverlyWell offers tests to measure food sensitivity, women’s fertility and hormones and heavy metals and minerals. Most of these employ dried blood spot, urine and saliva testing samples, which are collected at-home and returned to an EverlyWell lab. Test results are delivered online days after samples are received, Cheek said.

Photo: EverlyWell

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Apply to Pitch in the 2020 Pediatric Device Innovation Symposium

Children’s National Hospital

Home use tests allow you to test for some diseases or conditions at home. These tests are cost-effective, quick, and confidential. Home use tests can help:

  • detect possible health conditions when you have no symptoms, so that you can get early treatment and lower your chance of developing later complications (i.e. cholesterol testing, hepatitis testing).
  • detect specific conditions when there are no signs so that you can take immediate action (i.e. pregnancy testing).
  • monitor conditions to allow frequent changes in treatment (i.e. glucose testing to monitor blood sugar levels in diabetes).

Despite the benefits of home testing, you should take precautions when using home-use tests.

  • See your health care provider regularly. Home use tests are intended to help you with your health care, but they should not replace periodic visits to your doctor.
    • Most tests are best evaluated together with your medical history, a physical exam, and other testing.
    • Always see your doctor if you are feeling sick, are worried about a possible medical condition, or if the test instructions recommend you do so.
  • Always use new test strips that areauthorized for sale in the United States. The FDA has issued a safety communication warning about the risks of using previously owned test strips or test strips that are not authorized for sale in the U.S.

Approvals:

  • Find All FDA-Approved Home and Lab Tests

Related Links

  • The FDA Warns Against Use of Previously Owned Test Strips or Test Strips Not Authorized for Sale in the United States: FDA Safety Communication
  • How You Can Get the Best Results With Home Use Tests
  • How You Can Know If FDA Regulates an Over-The-Counter Test
  • Home Use Tests: Glossary

Digital health startup EverlyWell, today announced it has raised $2.5 million in seed funding to expand its suite of regulatory-compliant at-home diagnostic tests. The Austin, TX-based startup is transforming traditional health testing by providing consumers with convenient access to tests and easy-to-read results.

The company’s e-commerce platform enables customers to buy a variety of test kits online, easily collect their sample at home, and get informative results at their fingertips. EverlyWell will offer a suite of proven tests with physician review that don’t require consumers to visit a lab or doctor’s office. Starting at $199, Food Sensitivity, Women’s Health and Hormones, and Elements kits are available for order.

How It Works

EverlyWell’s platform is easy to use. A customer selects and purchases a kit that arrives to their home, and he or she collects a sample and sends it to EverlyWell’s lab partners. Results are available in a few days through an easy-to-read digital interface with both infographics and descriptive information. Kit samples are collected via pinprick dried blood spot, saliva or urine.

EverlyWell is partnering with several of the country’s most advanced CLIA-certified laboratories to conduct the test analyses and is working with a national physician network to authorize the test requisitions and review customer results.

“Diagnostic testing is a subpar experience for the individual,” said Dr. Murdoc Khaleghi, EverlyWell’s Chief Medical Officer. “EverlyWell has developed an innovative platform that places the consumer at the center, empowering the individual to order, understand, and improve their own biomarkers. Health information is a powerful tool in preventing long-term and chronic disease, and ultimately should be accessible and understandable to all.”

Warning about self-test health kits

DIY health testing kits have made headlines, with several newspapers reporting that they could do more harm than good. Home test kits designed to detect ailments from high cholesterol to cancer, can be misleading, offer false reassurance or trigger false alarms, and they use language that is often confusing, the media reported.

The stories are based on a new report by the consumer organisation Which? on six widely available home testing kits. It found many problems with the tests, including gaps in information, difficulty of use, “baffling” language, the risk of false alarms or false reassurance and misleading naming.

According to Which? people would be better off saving their money and going straight to their GP – who would have to carry out tests to confirm any ‘diagnosis’ made by such kits in any case.

It is always preferable to consult a medical practitioner if you have any health concerns. A GP will conduct an appropriate assessment and will be able to discuss any concerns that you have and advise which further examinations, investigations or further assessments – if any – are appropriate.

What did the research involve?

Which? asked two experts to assess a selection of home testing kits and to look at their packaging, leaflets and websites. The experts were Dr Danielle Freedman, consultant pathologist from the Royal College of Pathologists, and GP Dr Paul Singer.

The Plain English Campaign was also asked to assess the information provided with the packs.

Which? also asked 64 members of the public to look at the information available when buying a test, to see whether the average person would be able to use the kits correctly. They were then given in-depth interviews about the information available at the point of purchase.

The test kits examined were for the following medical conditions:

Bowel cancer

The Boots Home test kit, £12.25, says it may help in the early detection of bowel cancer.

Prostate problems such as prostate cancer

The Selfcheck Health Test, £15.99, says it measures blood levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA), a marker for prostate problems.

Cholesterol

Care Diagnostica Cholesterol Health Care Test, £9.99, says it can detect high cholesterol levels.

Diabetes

Boots home test kit, £12.25, claims it may help in the early detection of diabetes.

Urinary tract infection

Atlas Urinary Tract Test, £4.49, says it is an aid in the diagnosis of urinary tract infection.

Stomach ulcers

Simplicity Stomach Ulcer Screening Test, £12.00, says it is a “screen” for stomach ulcers.

What were the findings?

Detailed findings about the six tests are as follows:

Boots Home test kit

Which? says the kit, which tests for blood in the stools, is not as accurate as the screening test used by the NHS because it is based on only one bowel motion and “of little use as a screen for early bowel cancer”. Information is misleading – for example, it is referred to as a “diagnostic device” on the website. The pack gives no guidance on how to collect a stool sample, nor does it mention that you’re likely to need a repeat test by your GP, or that there’s a free NHS screening programme for the over-60s.

Selfcheck Health Test

Which? points out that although raised levels of PSA can indicate prostate cancer, raised PSA levels can be caused by other things (including benign enlargement, infection and inflammation of the prostate). Because of this, there is a good chance that this finger prick test could lead to false alarms, while negative results may give false reassurance. The pack fails to state that the test is unsuitable for people with certain medical conditions such as prostatitis (acute or chronic inflammation of the prostate) or, in some circumstances, unsuitable for use after sexual activity or cycling.

Consumers reported that information about the test was not always clear. Selfcheck recommends regular prostate testing for men over 40, but this is not supported by NHS screening policies. It was also difficult to use: the Which? tester “didn’t even collect half the blood needed”.

Care Diagnostica Cholesterol Health Care Test

The test involved a finger prick test that measures cholesterol in the blood, which can indicate a higher risk of heart disease. However, the Which? medical experts said there are other risk factors for heart disease, such as smoking, diabetes and obesity. They say the test results should be considered in combination with these factors to get a more accurate idea of risk, and this should be clearly explained to avoid “false reassurance”. The wording on the pack was judged to be “inappropriate for a general audience”. The Which? tester also found that the lancet which draws blood from the finger was broken and unusable.

Boots Home Test Kit

This test, which measures the level of glucose in the blood, could worry people unnecessarily as it doesn’t mention that glucose levels can be raised after a meal. The package does not clearly state who the test is unsuitable for, what might interfere with the results and when it should not be used. Which? says that although the leaflet contains some useful information in the event of an abnormal result, it also uses some confusing language. Lack of clarity over high glucose levels and an actual diagnosis of diabetes could lead to “some unduly and unnecessarily frightened people”.

Atlas Urinary Tract Test

This tests for white blood cells, red blood cells and nitrites in the urine, which can indicate a urinary tract infection (UTI). Consumers thought this test could be useful, and frequent UTI sufferers may find that the test helps to indicate when they need to visit the GP. Experts were concerned about the difficulties of interpreting the results. The Plain English Campaign said the leaflet uses “overly scientific and technical language”. Which? points out that as with many of the tests, many people would need re-testing by the GP to decide whether treatment is needed.

Simplicity Stomach Ulcer Screening Test

Which? says that this finger prick tests is misleading since it actually tests for a bacteria (helicobacter pylori) rather than stomach ulcers, and it cannot tell people if they have a current infection. Only a minority of people with the bacteria will develop an ulcer. Information with the kit is “vague” and the company’s website “unduly frightening”. Plain English Campaign called the information on the leaflet “overwhelming”. It was difficult to use: the tester only managed to get three-quarters of the blood needed after two finger pricks.

What does the report recommend?

Which? says that while self-test health kits could be a useful tool, the lack of clear information about how to use them could do more harm than good. Which? chief executive, Peter Vicary-Smith, says:

“As your GP may well have to carry out their own tests to confirm a positive diagnosis anyway, you may be better off saving your money and going straight to your GP.”

Which? will be contributing its report to the European review of self-testing devices.

What do other sources say?

Other experts are reported as agreeing that some of these tests can be misleading. The Prostate Cancer Charity said it did not encourage the use of PSA testing because this can result in false reassurance or create unnecessary anxiety. The charity Diabetes UK also advises people who are worried that they may have the condition not to use glucose test kits. Cancer Research UK said that anyone worried about the risk of cancer should see their doctor.

Boots is reported as saying that self-testing health kits should always be used with advice from a GP or pharmacist.

What should I do?

Many people find it difficult to see the GP or may be unwilling to talk to a doctor about their health concerns. Self-test health kits are widely available and may seem appealing by offering people the chance to test for various conditions in the comfort and privacy of their own home. However, this report, which has looked at six widely available home testing kits, concluded that they can be difficult to use, do not always give clear or adequate information, and can lead to unnecessary anxiety or false reassurance.

Although the report was limited to only six kits and they were assessed by only two experts, the findings are worth noting. The current lack of legislation for these home testing kits may mean that these problems are common among testing kits in general.

If you are considering using a home testing kit of any kind, it is worth bearing in mind these potential drawbacks, as well as the expense. The Department of Health advises people to be cautious when using home-testing kits. A spokesperson told the BBC, “anyone who is concerned that they may be suffering from an infection or illness should contact their GP practice, pharmacist or other health professional for advice.”

It is always preferable to consult a medical practitioner if you have any health concerns. A GP will conduct an appropriate assessment and can discuss any of your concerns and advise which further examinations, investigations or further assessments – if any – are appropriate. NHS Direct can also provide advice on 0845 4647.

Analysis by Bazian
Edited by NHS Website

Links to the headlines

Concern at self-test health kits.

BBC News, 31 March 2011

Home health tests ‘could do more harm than good’.

The Daily Telegraph, 31 March 2011

DIY health testing kits ‘could do more harm than good’.

Daily Mail, 31 March 2011

‘Hit and miss’ warning on home health tests.

The Independent, 31 March 2011

Links to the science

5 need to knows about home self-test health kits.

Which 2011

Can’t find what you need? Search for blood tests here!

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We only include clinically valid tests in the PLUS V (as with all of our profiles), and the analysis is conducted at accredited laboratories that the NHS themselves use.

You will get the actual quantified report from the laboratory which will report on a full blood count, a full lipid panel, a Kidney function panel, an anaemia check, a diabetes check as well as the usual inclusions in a biochemistry panel.
On top of that the test also alerts you to your vitamin level status by reporting information such as Folate, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D, as well as your Thyroid status through TSH and FT4, and also an advanced Iron status profile by testing your levels of Ferritin and HbA1C. Additionally it will check for inflammation levels within your body by checking for either ESR or CRP.

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Finger Prick blood test Kits

In the NHS, finger prick blood tests are quite common for well-known conditions such as diabetes. The finger prick blood tests that we supply at Blue Horizon Medicals are not only tested in an accredited laboratory that is also used by the NHS, but by utilising a laboratory for the testing we can test a far wider range of biochemistry and endocrinology parameters than can be tested by a point of care device alone.
” The lab my GP surgery use would not test everything I needed to have an informed diagnosis, so in May this year I looked for alternatives through the Thyroid UK Charity and Blue Horizon came highly recommended. Once I’d pricked my finger the blood flowed brilliantly for about 2 seconds! No need to panic, following the instructions, I then massaged my finger to get the flow going again & was able to fill the capsule. Posted off, I was amazed to get my results 2 days later! Brilliant service & I have recommended it to so many others since, because it is so simple & quick. ” – Linda, Nottingham
How does this finger prick home blood test work?
By placing the lancet against your finger, a hidden needle springs out to puncture your skin. The needle then safely pops back into the lancet device. The lancet is a sterile class 2 medical device.

How much blood is needed?
Typically, we will need 15-18 drops of blood for your home blood test. This equates to around 800 microlitres, or 0.8 millilitres. Visually, this is about 1/8 of a teaspoon – so not very much at all.

Is it accurate?
Yes, the tests are accurate and are tested by accredited UK laboratories that the NHS itself uses.

Does it hurt?
Yes it does a little. But having a finger prick home blood test hurts a lot less than a nurse extracting blood from your arm using a vacutainer needle. We’ve trialled five different lancets and supply the one that delivers the best results, enabling you to send a good quality sample to the lab.

What kind of home blood tests can be carried out with a fingerprick test?
As empowering as the blood test kits are, with a small quantity of blood there is a limit to the number of tests that may be performed on one sample. Additionally, the risk of the blood clotting is greater than with a traditional vacutainer sample, especially as the return to the laboratory is by post. We therefore exclude large profiles from this blood collection method, and exclude anything including or that is a part of liver function tests, electrolytes or full blood counts.

What if I don’t get enough blood?
About 15% of our customers that choose to provide a sample using the finger-prick method will fail to provide enough viable sample for the laboratory to analyse. The most common reason for failure is not reading the instructions, so we urge you to do this. If for some reason you cannot provide enough sample, we are happy to offer you the following options.
UPGRADE TO A VACUTAINER – We can send you a vacutainer kit so that you may have the blood taken professionally – the kit itself will be sent free of charge. If you would like to attend one of our Partner BMI locations the cost is £39 or if you would like one of our nurses to visit you anywhere in the UK the cost is £49. Alternatively, if you know of a phlebotomy service in your are you are welcome to make use of it – everything is included, apart from a tourniquet and a sharps box.

TRY AGAIN – Another finger-prick kit can be sent out to you, we would need to charge a small administration fee of £5 as in our experience, if you have failed once with this method, you are very likely to fail again.

REFUND – A 100% refund.

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