This article was last reviewed on
This article waslast modified on
24 May 2018.

Introduction

Home testing is a growing area of health care that places new opportunities and responsibilities on those requiring healthcare. (See related article, "Home Testing")

Read the instructions which come with each test kit carefully and seek advice from your GP if you are unsure of whether this method of testing is likely to improve your healthcare.

Glucose

Glucose

Condition: Diabetes

Purpose: To monitor blood glucose (sugar) levels in diabetes

Format: Simple test device which can be used in the home

Availability: In high street pharmacies without prescription, on the recommendation of your doctor

Comments: Home testing for monitoring diabetes has advanced from urine testing to blood testing. These tests usually involve taking a small 'finger-prick' sample, and are a convenient way for patients and doctors to monitor daily variations in blood glucose levels.

Luteinising Hormone (LH)

Luteinising Hormone (LH)

Condition: Determining the time of ovulation which is when a woman releases an egg

Purpose: Predicting when in her menstrual cycle a woman is most likely to be fertile

Format: Simple test device which can be used in the home

Availability: In high street pharmacies without prescription

Comments: Usually involves testing urine samples at different stages of the menstrual cycle to look for peak LH levels which are seen just before ovulation.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)

Condition: Pregnancy

Purpose: To confirm or exclude pregnancy

Format: : Simple test device which can be used in the home

Availability: In high street pharmacies without prescription

Comments: Usually involves testing urine for hCG, which is produced when a woman becomes pregnant. Talk to your GP if you are pregnant to arrange ante-natal care, or if you are unsure about the results of a home test.

INR

INR (Coagulation Testing)

Condition: Heart disease, stroke, atherosclerosis, where treatment of the condition includes use of anticoagulant medication

Purpose: Measuring the ease with which the blood clots

Format: Simple test device which can be used in the home

Availability: May be prescription by your GP or hospital haematologists where it is thought that home testing might be valuable.

Comments: Relatively new test for which the safety and benefits in aiding treatment are still being evaluated. It requires careful and rigorous training, care and adherence to the testing procedure if it is going to be useful.

Other Home Tests

Condition: Various, such as osteoporosis, hormone levels, Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Purpose: Screening for the possible presence of the conditions described above

Format: Some tests may not be available in high street pharmacies in the UK

Availability: Some tests may be available internationally, over the internet but are not yet available over the counter in the UK

Comments: A range of home testing kits have become available recently and can be bought either from pharmacies or from internet based sources. The healthcare value of some of these tests is doubtful and you would be wise to consult your GP if you have any questions or concerns about the value of these tests for your use or are concerned about validity of these products and the test results they produce. These testing kits do not always replace laboratory based testing, and may not be accurate and precise. They should be used after discussion with a healthcare professional.

Tests include – hormone levels, drugs of abuse and sexually transmitted diseases.