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Can Home Tests Replace Check-Ups?

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❝I recently hit 65 and try to get regular check-ups, but do you think home testing can be as reliable as a doctor visit? I try to keep as informed as I can and am a big believer in taking responsibility for my own health if I can, but I don’t want to miss something important either. Best as a supplemental thing, perhaps?❞

Depends what’s being tested! And your level of technical knowledge, though there’s always something to be said for ongoing learning.

  • If you’re talking blood tests, urine tests, etc per at-home test kits that get sent off to a lab, then provided they’re well-sourced (and executed correctly by you), they should be as accurate as what a doctor will give, since they are basically doing the same thing (taking a sample and sending it off to a lab).
  • If you’re talking about checking for lumps etc, then a dual approach is best: check yourself at home as often as you feel is reasonable (with once per month being advised at a minimum, especially if you’re aware of an extra risk factor for you) and check-ups with the doctor per their recommendations.
  • If you’re talking about general vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability, VO₂ max, etc), then provided you have a reliable way of testing them, then doing them very frequently at home, to get the best “big picture” view. In contrast, getting them done once a year at your doctor’s could result in a misleading result, if you just ate something different that day or had a stressful morning, for example.


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