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What is at-home blood testing?

selection of at home blood test kits from Ivie Wellness
If you want to better understand your body, an at-home blood check might be a good choice, with doctor-reviewed results in under 48 hours. Learn more here!

Most people will have had a blood test at some point in their life, whether for a routine check-up, a screening, or a specific condition.1 You’ll usually have your blood drawn by a nurse or phlebotomist, which can be uncomfortable or downright unnerving for some.

At-home blood testing is becoming more and more popular as a convenient and easier method of checking your blood and keeping an eye on your health.2 While at-home tests shouldn’t replace seeing your doctor for any concerns, they can help you better understand your health and get proactive about your wellbeing.

But what is at-home blood testing, how does it work, and is it reliable? Keep reading as we’ll give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about doing blood tests at home.

In this article: What is an at-home blood test? | What do at-home blood tests do? | What comes in an at-home blood test? | How to take an at-home blood test | Are home blood tests accurate? | The final say

What is an at-home blood test?

What is an at-home blood test?

Traditionally, you’d need to book a blood test and head to your local GP or hospital, but instead of being at the mercy of appointment times, waiting rooms, and busy surgeries, a home blood test kit allows you to test your blood from the comfort of your home and on your schedule.  

At-home blood testing involves drawing a small amount of blood from your fingertip using a handheld lancet. These little tubes of blood then get sent in the post to a lab where professionals review them. You’ll usually then get your results within 48 hours. 

You can then take the results you get from your blood testing kit to your next doctor’s appointment to discuss them further, get more clarity on what they mean and discuss any concerns you might have.  

There are a variety of at-home tests you can take that will check for different biomarkers, from a thyroid test to vitamin B12 and more.3 Some of these tests include:

  • General health tests
  • Vitamin profile tests
  • Thyroid tests 
  • Vitamin B12 tests
  • Cholesterol tests
  • Vitamin D tests
  • Testosterone tests

General health blood tests

The general health blood test is the most in-depth and diverse, checking for 27 markers to ensure your body works as it should. This test looks for markers covering some of the most common conditions which impact your day-to-day health, some of which tend to have little to no symptoms.  

Checking for these 27 markers means the general health blood test can analyse:

  • Your liver function
  • Your kidney function
  • Your muscle and bone health
  • Your iron levels
  • Your cholesterol levels
  • Your risk of diabetes
  • Your risk of gout

Taking the general health test is a great way to keep on top of any potential issues and help you keep track of your health and wellbeing. However, it’s essential to note that these tests can’t give you a diagnosis, so for any concerns, you should always discuss your results with your GP. They can provide you with any help and advice you may need.4  

Are at-home blood tests accurate?

Are at-home blood tests accurate?

Yes, at-home blood tests are accurate and reliable. But there are a few things that can happen that might affect your results, from squeezing your finger too hard to not giving enough blood.5  

One of the factors which might affect your results is if you forget or take too long to post your sample. Your blood can start to clot over time, making analysing it much harder.6 So, always remember to post your test as soon as possible after taking it – and definitely on the same day! 

You’ll also need to do you take your test correctly, taking care to read all the instructions. Make sure your hands and surroundings are clean and dry, as any contaminants (even water) can affect your results, don’t squeeze your finger too hard, and try to remember to take it at the right time of day too. Some tests, like testosterone tests, need to be done in the morning as this is when your levels peak, whereas others can be taken at other times of the day, but this will be stated in the instructions. 

You’ll also want to make sure you provide enough blood, as giving more blood means your test has a higher chance of being analysed correctly.

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