Direct Access Lab Testing: Types You Can Order from Home
There are many important components of living a healthy lifestyle, from eating a nutritious diet to getting enough exercise. No matter your wellness goals, it is important to actively monitor your health and identify any changes or potential issues as early as possible.
In states that allow Direct Access Testing (DAT), ordering your own medical tests is an effective and affordable way to take your health into your own hands. It offers the benefit of being faster, less expensive, and more confidential than physician-ordered lab testing. Direct Access Testing can also be useful for collecting early results before a physician appointment.
So, what kind of lab tests can you order without a doctor’s orders? Below are the most common tests patients order via Direct Access Testing, but the interest and accessibility of advanced testing continues to grow.
1. Metabolic Panel
The basic metabolic panel (BMP) and comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) are baseline blood tests that measure the levels of certain compounds in your blood. They are useful for painting a picture of the current state of your overall health, and identifying any possible abnormalities.
The BMP provides important information about the kidneys, lungs, and blood sugar levels. The CMP includes all the same tests covered by the BMP, and provides additional information about certain blood proteins, enzymes, and other organ functions. These tests are a good starting point for patients who wish to collect more information about their overall wellness.
2. Thyroid Panel
Roughly 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, and an estimated 60% of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition. A thyroid panel tests the function and health of your thyroid, and can be used to screen for many different thyroid disorders.
A thyroid panel will typically include tests for thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine (T4), and may also include triiodothyronine (T3) and T3 resin uptake (RU). Many physicians only order TSH and sometimes T4 testing for patients, so ordering a full thyroid panel via DAT may provide additional diagnostic information.
3. Female Hormone Tests
There are many times in a woman’s life when it makes sense to have her hormone levels tested, such as when she is attempting to get pregnant. Direct access fertility testing may enable patients to check their progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, prolactin, estradiol, and other essential hormone levels from the comfort of home.
Women who are experiencing symptoms of hormone disorders such as PCOS may also benefit from at-home lab testing. Collecting this data early can help patients determine whether a follow-up appointment with a specialist is necessary, and streamline the diagnostic process if they do book an appointment.
4. Nutrition Testing
Good nutrition is one of the cornerstones of good health. Unfortunately, even individuals who eat healthfully cannot guarantee that their nutrition levels are sufficient without nutritional testing. These tests measure the levels of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients in your blood. Iron, Vitamin D, and Magnesium are among the most popular nutrition tests.
Many patients who are curious about their nutritional wellness may not want to deal with the costs, hassle, and time commitment of scheduling an appointment with their physician. At-home nutrition tests are becoming increasingly popular due to their ease and affordability.
5. STD Testing
STD testing can be a highly sensitive procedure for many patients. Although STD tests are a common and important part of regular health screenings, some individuals may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed discussing these tests with their physician.
At-home STD tests allow patients to access the specialized testing they need, while maintaining a sense of privacy and confidentiality. Patients without insurance coverage may also benefit from direct access STD testing.
Direct Access Testing empowers patients to make more informed wellness decisions by providing them with essential information about their health. Keep in mind that you should always review your DAT results with your physician before beginning or modifying treatment plans.
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