As the pharmacy is gaining popularity among other industries, do-it-yourself diagnosis is becoming more convenient than ever as more self-test kits are being purchased by consumers, hoping to find the comfort zone at home and not visiting any laboratories or hospitals. Self-tests are cost-effective, quick, and confidential and can help. Self tests can be done easily through EverlyWell with their home lab test kits. You can get EverlyWell Coupons here.
- Detect possible health conditions prior to the symptoms, and get early treatment and a lower chance of developing later complications (i.e. cholesterol testing, hepatitis testing etc).
- Detect specific conditions (i.e. pregnancy testing).
- Monitor and analyze condition to allow frequent changes in treatment (i.e. glucose testing to monitor blood sugar levels in diabetes).
However, despite of the benefits of home held testing, FDA claims that “you should take precautions when using home-use tests. Home use tests are supposed to help you with your health care, but one should not replace periodic visits to doctor. A person’s condition is best evaluated together with your medical history, a physical exam, and other testing. You must see your doctor if you are feeling sick, are worried about some medical condition, or if the test instructions told you to do so.
Many pharmaceutical companies also provide kits that claim to diagnose everything from prostate cancer to Alzheimer disease and menopause which according to neurobiologist and research chair in neurolipidomics is not possible based on a 15 minutes test at home in association with Alzheimer disease, many types of researches are being conducted on this issues to determine its self-diagnosis effectiveness.
Yet, self-diagnosis appeals to many and there are home tests for most conditions including high cholesterol levels, gluten intolerance and sexually transmitted infections like HIV and syphilis. Many are quick and easy to use, optimistically requiring only a finger-prick, urine sample or a blood sample.
Some kits are inexpensive such as a home prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, for example, can be bought online for $11. Others are somehow a little expensive like HIV through a blood test cost anywhere from $80 to $100. A home held diagnostic test that claims to identify Alzheimer symptoms can cost over $500.
It is difficult to measure the size of the health test industry because of its explosive growth. The research company, Technavio, forecast that the global mobile health applications market, which includes self-diagnosis kits, will reach US$4.1 billion in 2014, more than tripling from a 2010 level of US$1.7 billion. Some mobile health apps are available to get you going such as:
- Jawbone’s Up is a wristband personal tracking device that tracks a user’s moving, eating and sleeping pattern
- The Play It Down app enables users to test their hearing.
- The Digifit Ecosystem is a suite of Apple apps designed for those with an active lifestyle. It can record heart rate, pace, speed, and power.
- Withings’ Blood Pressure Monitor plugs into an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch and takes the user’s blood pressure. Data can be sent directly to a doctor or published (confidentially) on the Web.
- Skin Scan is an app which allows users to scan and monitor moles over time, with the aim of preventing malignant skin cancers.
- Lifelens has created a smartphone app to diagnose malaria.
- US automotive company Ford demonstrate three apps offering in-car health monitoring.
And there’s more, more, more: In October 2011, AT&T announced it will begin selling clothes securely surrounded with health monitors, able to track the wearer’s heart rate and body temperature.
The gaining popularity and trend of using self-health analysis kits in the UK had led the government body in charge of ensuring the safety and efficacy of drugs and medical devices, recently released guidelines on how to use them properly.
Most self-test kits are manufactured in the United States or Europe, and consumers can easily purchase them on the Internet. Some tests are free, including online self-tests for Alzheimer disease that appear to be little more than memory exercises. It is also possible to buy tests on eBay that claim to be more complex and able to measure cognitive performance but are not licensed in the majority of countries.
Self-test kits for cancer are also available, with a device attached that identifies PSA levels in the blood, even though they are often unlicensed.