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Home Health-Care Tests: Proceed With Caution

By Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Home pregnancy tests are commonplace, but that doesn't mean that every type of self-test for health issues is reliable.

And even if results are accurate, you shouldn't forgo getting advice from your health-care provider, especially if the condition is life-changing and requires very targeted treatment.

Some kits that let you test at home are fast and inexpensive. They can uncover problems before symptoms start, allowing for early treatment and lowering the risk of later complications. Others help you monitor your health.

Home glucose tests -- one of the most common -- show how well you're controlling diabetes, but even these everyday tests require input from your doctor. So take precautions when using a home test, and remember that they don't replace regular health-care visits.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers home tests medical devices and, in light of this rapidly growing category, is working to set standards for the tests and establish rules on how to regulate them.

Many home tests are reliable, including those for hepatitis C and HIV.

But some are more problematic, like DNA tests -- genetic testing for your own disease risk and for genes associated with disorders that could be passed on to a child.

Before you buy a store kit, look for the words "FDA-approved" on the package. Be sure to read any disclaimers to understand a test's limitations and heed the advice to get health counseling for positive results.

And no matter what type of test you do, always discuss results with your doctor, even if you get a normal finding. Most results should be evaluated along with your medical history and a physical.

Also, many DNA home kits do not test for every possible genetic mutation, so you can get false negatives as well as false positives. Take your findings to your doctor and discuss whether more comprehensive testing will help you get more accurate answers.

More information

The FDA has a tool that allows you to find all approved home tests and information about them, including each test's limitations.

Copyright © 2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=738266

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
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The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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