Consumer Reports Says These DIY Health Tests Might be Worth the Money

Consumer Reports Says These DIY Health Tests Might be Worth the Money
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August 12, 2015

You can DIY just about anything these days, but should you be using do-it-yourself health screening tests?

Consumer Reports researched some popular tests and found that some could provide users with important information, while others should be avoided because they give misleading or false results.

While the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures that the tests are safe and that people who use them can get results if they follow the directions properly. But, says the magazine, the FDA doesn't guarantee that the results will always be accurate so it's important to have the test results confirmed by a medical professional, especially if symptoms persist.

Most tests sold in drug stores like CVS and Walgreens are approved by the FDA, but the same can't be said for those sold online.

Consumer Reports says that before buying a self-screening test, patients should ask themselves if it will save them a trip to the doctor. If not, the test won't save time or money. If you don't think you can use the test correctly or interpret its results, it's best to have a medical professional run the test. If you're taking the self-test to avoid a conversation with your doctor, it's time to get a new doctor. Many doctor-prescribed tests are at least partially covered by insurance. You may be able to get reimbursement through a flexible spending account, but you will have to pay out of pocket initially.

Consumer Reports says that the following tests for the following conditions or illnesses might be worth going the DIY route. Test results are either provided immediately or after a sample has been mailed to a separate facility.

  • Blood glucose
  • Cholesterol
  • Colon cancer
  • Hepatitis C
  • HIV
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Yeast infections

Consumer Reports advises patients skip tests for these conditions as none of the tests are FDA approved and the results can be false or misleading.

  • Allergies
  • C-reactive protein
  • Menopause (exempt from FDA approval)
  • Prostate cancer
  • Testosterone levels
  • Thyroid disease
  • Vitamin D deficiency

Visit the Consumer Reports website for test kit recommendations.