Home testing kits gave me health scare - The Sun

Medichecks provided The Sun with a number of health checks for a journalist reviewing home testing kits.


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HOME health testing kits seem to be all the rage. Earlier this year, a new HIV self-test launched in the UK and a DIY smear test is now available to buy.

Kits you can purchase in shops and online promise to test for everything from heart disease to Alzheimer’s. But how easy is it to use these kits, how accurate are the results and are they worth the money?

FULL BLOOD ANALYSIS

THEY SAY: A comprehensive, quick and reassuring way of assessing your state of health. It includes a full blood count, examining red and white blood cells and a thyroid check, while liver, kidney, bones and muscles are analysed.

It measures cholesterol levels, glucose levels and can indicate risks for diabetes and heart disease.

HELEN’S EXPERIENCE: After completing a medical history and lifestyle questionnaire, I got a finger-prick blood sample collecting kit in the post.

I had to avoid alcohol for 24 hours and fast for ten to 14 hours, but I struggled to fill the vials due to my fast-clotting blood. I was later informed that my samples were unreadable.

Medichecks says this happens in one in 20 cases. It has arranged for me to have my blood sample taken by a nurse in a private hospital – for £30.

RESULTS: Back within seven days. Most were fine but the test said I had raised cholesterol. The Medichecks lab report stated an ideal level as 5mmol/L or less. Mine was 5.8.

I rang the helpline and spoke to Amy Tarr of the Medichecks patient services team. She said my LDL (bad) cholesterol was 3.4, slightly over what they consider to be the normal range of 3. I also had high levels of HDL/good cholesterol 2.1mmol/L – an ideal reading is between 1.2 and 1.7. Amy said HDL can help clear the bad cholesterol from the blood so the high reading offers my heart “good protection”.

My triglyceride levels, which can be linked to heart disease, were nice and low. Alarmingly, the HbA1c test showed I was in the pre-diabetes category. Amy advised I see my GP.

DETECT PLAQUE ON YOUR ARTERIES

THEY SAY: Detects the build-up of plaque on arteries by measuring the Lp-PLA2 enzyme in blood.

RESULTS: According to Medichecks, a high-risk score is anything over 195 while a low-risk reading is below 151. I was absolutely horrified to learn that mine was 212.3.

I called the Medichecks advisor who suggested I see my GP, especially as I have raised cholesterol and am in the pre-diabetes category.

Read the full Medichecks article in The Sun

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