With the rapid advances in technology and science that have been made in recent years, it should come as no surprise that many diagnostic tests that were once only accessible via a medical professional, can now be started from the comfort of your own home.
What kind of diagnostic kits are available over the counter?
There are so many different diagnostic kits available on the market including those that help measure important markers of your thyroid health, checking your testosterone levels, taking a vitamin D test or a DNA test.
Here we look at some of the most common.
How to use home diagnostic tests
Generally, the test kits involve you first registering your pack with the company supplying the product, before using the equipment provided – such as collection tubes, alcohol swabs, lancets, etc. – to take a saliva sample or blood sample.
This sample is then sent off in the supplied packaging to a UKAS accredited laboratory and you then just wait for the results.
General health check kits
While most home health check kits tend to look at one specific biomarker of health, there are general check-up kits available which give you a better overall idea of your current health status.
Medichecks Health and Lifestyle Check is designed to find out if your diet could be healthier by checking important health markers, such as cholesterol; key vitamins; iron storage and kidney function.
The test requires a simple finger prick blood test. Once the results have been analysed, you will get access to a doctor’s interpretation of the results, along with advice on what to do next.
If you do not like the idea of pricking your finger, another way to get a more rounded idea of your body’s health status is via a DNA test kit, which only requires a saliva sample.
A DNA home test can give you a wide range of biological information, from sleep to stress to mental health, gut health and vital clues about your dietary needs.
The company Muhdo offers two types of genetics testing via a simple home DNA kit.
You will also get a free personalised workout planner and meal planner aligned to your DNA.
Recent advances mean that home genetics health testing can now provide extra about your lifestyle. This information is called epigenetics.
Muhdo DNA + Epigenetics Genetic Collection Kit provides all the same information as the aforementioned DNA home test kit, but also extra information about your current biological age (as opposed to chronological), as well as the status of your memory, inflammation, eye and ear health.
Vitamin B12 test
It may be the case that you do not want a full health check. But you might suspect that you are lacking certain nutrients from your diet.
For example, vegans and vegetarians are particularly prone to Vitamin B12 deficiency. In which case, there are several specialist tests that might be suitable for you.
This is especially relevant for vegans and vegetarians, as well as people with digestive problems.
Vitamin B12 benefits include normal red blood cell formation and normal functioning of the nervous system.
If you discover you have a low B12, you may need to improve your diet; take Vitamin B12 injections; a B12 supplement (usually Vitamin B12 tablets) or even a Vitamin B complex tablet, which contains all the B vitamins, including B12.
Vitamin D test
What is Vitamin D and why is it so important?
Sources of Vitamin D include food like oily fish, red meat and eggs. However, our main source is sunlight.
Also known as the “sunshine vitamin” Vitamin D is essential for maintenance of normal teeth and bones.
During the recent Covid-19 pandemic, the NHS recommended that adults take 10 micrograms per day of Vitamin D via a supplement.
Those at naturally higher risk of low Vitamin D levels include:
those with darker skin
anyone who stays indoors a lot
anyone living in a country that does not have year-round sunshine