Benefits of At-Home Tests Include
- Convenience: At-home tests allow you to get tested on your own schedule and without having to schedule an appointment, go to a medical office, or even leave the comfort of your home.
- Expanded access to testing: The ability to order and take tests from home simplifies the testing process and makes many tests more available to the public.
- Patient knowledge and empowerment: Patients are becoming more informed and active in their health care, and at-home testing can be a source of new information about their health and wellness.
- Transparent cost: In most cases, at-home tests ordered online have a set price that is clearly displayed, and it is rare to encounter hidden fees.
Uses of At-Home Tests
At-home tests can have a variety of uses. The most common uses of at-home tests include:
- Screening is looking for signs of a health problem before any symptoms have occurred. For example, at-home testing can look for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that may not cause symptoms, which can help avoid unknowingly spreading it to others.
- Diagnosis is the identifying the cause of a health problem after symptoms have started. For example, at-home tests may detect infectious diseases like COVID-19. It is important to note, though, that only a doctor can formally diagnose a health condition, and they will need to conduct additional tests to confirm the results of at-home testing.
- Monitoring is tracking how a person’s health changes over time or in response to treatment. At-home kits that allow people with diabetes to measure their blood sugar are an example of monitoring.
- Disease risk assessment: In some situations, testing can reveal when a person has a higher risk of developing a disease. For instance, some genetic tests can look for DNA mutations that are associated with certain types of cancer, such as BRCA gene mutations and an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- Wellness optimization: Some tests don’t look for a specific problem; instead, they are designed to help you understand one or more aspects of your physical, mental, or emotional wellness. These tests may measure hormones, nutrient levels, or other substances to offer more information about your body.
What preparation instructions are needed before taking your blood pressure?
It is generally recommended to wait at least 30 minutes before taking a blood pressure (BP) test after engaging in activities such as drinking caffeine or smoking, or after experiencing strong emotions or physical exertion. This is because these activities can temporarily increase blood pressure, and waiting will help to ensure that the reading obtained is as accurate as possible.
It is also recommended to not eat or drink anything (other than water) for at least 30 minutes before the test. Some people recommend empty stomach for the best result for accuracy.
Additionally, It is a good practice to measure blood pressure at the same time of day, ideally in the morning before eating or taking any medications, and also in the evening to get an accurate reading.
It’s important to keep in mind that an isolated high blood pressure reading doesn’t necessarily indicate hypertension, so if you’re concerned about your blood pressure, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider, who can give you more information based on your specific situation.