HEALTH & BEAUTY: DIY Health Kits Put to the Test

Coventry Evening Telegraph (England), December 1, 2003 | Go to article overview

HEALTH & BEAUTY: DIY Health Kits Put to the Test


Byline: KAREN HAMBRIDGE

THE number of gadgets allowing you to check aspects of your health in the privacy of your own home has rocketed. A more questioning public has lapped them up. But are the kits useful or simply a waste of time and money? KAREN HAMBRIDGE reports.

THEY SAY that prevention is better than cure and we certainly seem to be taking the old adage to heart.

In a report from consumer research company Mintel, an astonishing number of people admitted opting for self-diagnosis rather than turning to their doctor.

The survey found that in 2002 alone almost pounds 55 million was spent on self- diagnostic products, such as blood pressure and blood glucose monitors, and pregnancy tests.

Now, not only can you buy a blood pressure monitor, you can pick up a bowel cancer test kit, cholesterol measurer, diabetes test, ovulation detector and digital fertility monitor.

Mintel consumer analyst Jenny Catlin says: "These days many people are much more aware of their health and often want to try to prevent illnesses before they start, rather than taking medicine once the illness has kicked in.

"They also realise that spotting the symptoms early can improve the chances of remaining healthy. Also, long waiting lists often mean it is not easy or convenient to get to the doctor, which means more people are choosing to go it alone."

Today almost 58 per cent of British people have at least one self-diagnostic product in their home. Often this is nothing more scientific than a thermometer.

But the survey also shows that more than one in seven of us has three or more self-diagnostic products at home. Of this group, the urine sugar monitor for diabetes was most popular, followed by tests to measure pulse, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Younger people, aged 25-34, were more likely to have self-diagnostic tools and were also less likely to see a doctor unless they were "really ill".

Of course, another factor in the popularity of self-diagnosis has been the availability of test kits and growing awareness about medical conditions.

Diabetics are, for example, encouraged to keep a track of their blood sugar levels as a way of maintaining good health.

The surge in sales of blood pressure monitors can be traced to the ever- expanding health and fitness market.

So while it seems the vogue for self-testing is unlikely to fade, should the public be cautious about how they approach such screening? THE DOCTOR'S VIEW

COVENTRY GP Rodney Swallow, based at surgeries in Bennetts Road, Keresley, and Headington Avenue, Whitmore Park, supports home testing - as long as the information with the kit is adequate, the instructions followed properly, and the person acknowledges the limitations of the device and its results.

He says: "People have the right to obtain these kits and many of them can be very useful for self-monitoring.

"If you think of blood sugar testing with diabetics, or blood pressure checking for people on tablets, by keeping an eye on these conditions themselves, patients can make a big difference to their own lives.

"Good control of these conditions can help people to stay healthier for longer and avoid complications. The more people can keep on top of their illness the better, and self-monitoring is a useful way of doing that so emerging problems can be flagged up."

He believes a number of the devices, such as the home pregnancy test, fertility monitor and ovulation kit, have obvious markets and probably fill a useful niche.

He is less enthusiastic about some others, such as the diabetes home test.

"It is a bit old-fashioned to be testing for the presence of glucose in urine," he explains. "Testing for blood sugar is more sensitive and the person might be better off having a word with the pharmacist to get a blood sugar test done. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

HEALTH & BEAUTY: DIY Health Kits Put to the Test
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.