There is increased availability of home testing kits on the market today. There are tests to detect the presence of prostate disease, monitor cholesterol levels, and test the body’s response to a panel of common allergens.
This vast array of home testing products is revolutionizing the traditional way that health care services are delivered. Consumers have much more control in directing their own health care.
A common test is used in the early detection and management of overactive (hypothyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism) thyroid conditions is the TSH Home Testing Kit. TSH, thyroid-stimulating hormone, is a chemical substance produced by the pituitary gland when the level of thyroid hormones drops too low.
This hormone directly affects metabolism within our bodies. It can also affect weight loss or gain, energy levels, skin condition, memory, heart rate, cholesterol levels, and menstrual regularity in women. Home testing kits are designed to measure the level of TSH within the blood through self-collected laboratory analysis.
The home testing kit researched for this article indicated that the collection process is quite simple. A lancet, similar to the device used to lance a finger when gauging blood glucose levels, is used to prick a finger. The “meaty” side of any finger is a good place to obtain blood specimens. Several drops of blood are deposited onto a special collection device.
The sample is sent in a postage-paid envelope to a laboratory where a licensed physician reviews the results. The laboratory should also have proper accreditation. A report containing easy-to-understand information is prepared and returned to the consumer. The report indicates how much TSH is present within the sample that was submitted.
FDA-approval of a home testing kit is an indicator that the testing has been carefully researched and is considered safe for use. The home testing kit reviewed for this article indicated that it was an FDA-approved product. A prescription by a physician is not required for this test, but abnormal results should definitely be followed up on with a primary care physician.
A physician may order more comprehensive testing that can clarify the results indicated by the home testing kit. A primary care physician is also usually aware of an individual’s medical history and complicating medical conditions. Medication for a thyroid condition should never be stopped or adjusted without consulting a physician.
Home testing kits offer the benefit of consumer empowerment and involvement in your own healthcare. Statistics have estimated that 13 million Americans have undiagnosed thyroid problems in the United States.
Home testing offers an affordable first-line defense for the detection of such a disorder. The most important thing to remember about these products, however, is that self-directed screenings do not replace the involvement of trained and licensed health care providers.
Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism that may warrant the need for home testing include heat intolerance, insomnia, breathlessness, increased bowel movements, light or absent menstrual periods, and fatigue.
The presence of cold intolerance, hair loss, muscle cramps or frequent muscle aches, depression, irritability, and weight gain may indicate a problem with hypothyroidism. A TSH Home Testing Kit may be utilized to find out if the symptoms are being generated by an overactive or underactive thyroid gland.