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February 24, 1995 - Image 64

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-02-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Affording the best is not the
question.. *finding the best is.

jr

Home Testing Kits
Let You Play Doc

JUDITH MILLER SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

A first...
Apartment living in a
Skilled Nursing facility

For the discriminating person
requiring an elegant environment

Bortz Health Care
on Green. Lake

s people take more inter-
est in their own health
care, home testing kits
give them the ability to
"play doctor."
Kits can be used to screen for
hidden diseases such as colorec-
tal cancer, monitor an ongoing
health problem such as diabetes
or deduct a conditon such as
pregnancy.
Sales of home testing kits grew
by more than 18 percent from
1991 to 1992, and market re-
searchers project sales will grow
by 13.5 percent a year through
the end of 1996.
Do-it-yourself testing kits,
which can range from $10 to
more than $50, are available over
the counter at drugstores, at
some supermarkets and by mail
order. Most are easy to perform
— and getting easier all the time
— and give fast results in priva-
cy.
The kits all have been ap-
proved as safe and efficient by

Family owned and operated for over 33 years
Medicare approved.

Overlooking two beautiful lakes

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the Food and Drug Administra-
tion. Home testing kits include
instructions but, because ques-
tions arise about how to use a kit,
experts suggest asking a phar-
macist.
Home tests can alert users to
a potential health problem and
can lead to early medical treat-
ment. On the other hand, if the
test results are normal, and there
are no unusual symptoms, home
testing can give peace of mind.
Users should be aware that no
medical test is 100 percent accu-
rate. Even under the best con-
ditions, a certain percentage of
results will be incorrect, regis-
tering either a false negative or
a false positive. Of particular con-
cern, experts say, are the false
negatives — results that suggest
you are healthy when you really
are not.
"We always explain what false
positives and false negatives
mean," said Nancy Curry, a
pharmacist.
Experts say that, regardless of

the results, people should pay at-
tention to their bodies.
"If things don't feel right, see
a physician," said Dr. Roland Go-
ertz of the University of Texas
Medical School. "Don't use home
tests to replace a visit to a doc-
tor."
In the future, expect to see
FDA approval for a test kit that
allows people to measure choles-
terol in the blood. But don't ex-
pect the agency's approval of
home tests to diagnose serious
diseases such as AIDS, sexual-
ly transmitted diseases and can-
cer, an FDA spokeswoman said.
Here is a rundown of the basic
home testing kits and how they
work:
Perhaps the most popular do-
it-yourself test is for pregnancy,
although it is not the largest sell-
er.
Pregnancy test kits are for
women who suspect they are
pregnant and want to find
out early. The woman who has a
positive pregnancy
home test still should
see a doctor for confir-
mation, experts say,
but the test is helpful
in helping the woman
make any necessary
lifestyle changes.
Home pregnancy
tests detect a hormone
that is produced by the
developing placenta
and is secreted in the
urine. The test consists
of exposing a specially
treated dipstick to the
urine of a woman who suspects
she is pregnant. Many of the
newer home pregnancy tests
have eliminated the need for a
urine collection cup.
A change in the dipstick color
usually indicates pregnancy.
However, there is always the
chance of a mistake, so most ex-
perts recommend repeating this
test.

Home tests can alert
uses to a potential
health problem.

Another home test, although
sold separately, goes hand in
hand with the pregnancy test kit.
An ovulation self-test enables
women to track their periods of
maximum fertility.
It, too, relies on a treated dip-
stick detecting the presence of a
specific hormone excreted in
urine during ovulation. The col-

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