There are an ever-growing number of people educating themselves and evaluating their health by accessing relevant medical information on the internet. Specifically, many people are taking charge of their health and well-being by purchasing and tracking their own blood and urine lab test results. People are realizing that they need to take an active role in their own health. Direct-to-consumer testing programs allow greater participation in one's own healthcare. The convenience and privacy is irresistible to many health-conscious consumers. There are some drawbacks to ordering your own lab tests. However, the dangers and risks can be easily controlled if you proceed wisely.
A serious medical condition such as heart disease, prostate cancer, a hormone imbalance, or diabetes can exist without noticeable symptoms for up to two years. Many times, a simple blood test can indicate what is happening. Test results can assist you in reversal of potential problem areas, and establish a baseline of your normal ranges for which future tests can be monitored. You have access to the same labs that physicians and hospitals use, which are certified and regulated by the appropriate governmental agencies. More and more people are using self-directed lab test ordering as a tool to help detect these medical problems early. Usually, the online lab testing service will give test results that include the normal reference ranges and abnormalities indicated. Abnormalities should be considered an early warning, but they do not necessarily indicate that there is a disease present. Consumers should always discuss the test results with their doctor for a physical evaluation, further testing, diagnosis, and treatment. This is where the "wisdom" comes into play. It can be a dangerous thing to "play doctor" on yourself. I always recommend that consumers seek a healthcare provider to discuss any results outside normal ranges.
Normally, you can get access to your lab results within one or two days after your blood is drawn for serum tests. Results from the specialty labs on hair, saliva, urine, and stool may take a bit longer. Sometimes, you can have the ability to receive your results in your e-mail. If you choose this method, you should also ask for the hard copy of the results to be mailed to you as well. Privacy is king when it comes to ordering your own tests. You will be the only one who receives the results unless you specifically direct the service to mail a copy to your doctor. Some issues regarding HIPPA will apply and you may need to provide a medical release form in order to have the service send your results to your physician.
If you really want to play an active role in treating and healing yourself, I would suggest educating yourself thoroughly prior to ordering any blood or other tests online. The internet can be a wonderful tool that provides a wealth of information. You can have access to the same medical literature as your physician. And now, you have access to many of the same laboratory tests. Educate yourself, and never leave out your physician and his/her professional abilities if you feel you may have a health problem or a serious medical condition!