The Best Home Diabetes Tests

Via Peters

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What should you know about taking an at-home diabetes test?

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Diabetes, or diabetes mellitus, is a common and chronic health condition that affects how the body uses glucose. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it affects over 34 million people living in the United States. Diabetes can increase your risk of heart problems, stroke, and nerve damage.

A further 88 million people have prediabetes, which typically occurs before diabetes. In prediabetes, blood sugar levels are elevated, but not to the levels of diabetes.

Many people are unaware they have prediabetes or diabetes until they experience health problems. Understanding the warning signs and regularly testing are ways of safeguarding your health from the severe health complications of diabetes.

It’s worth knowing that you can now buy at-home diabetes testing kits to monitor your blood glucose with A1C testing. Depending on your results, you can then consult a doctor.

If you’re looking for an easy way to test for diabetes at home, here are our top choices.

If you’re concerned that you’re at risk for diabetes, here are some of the most common causes and symptoms.

Type 1 diabetes

Doctors don’t currently know the primary cause of type 1 diabetes. In some cases, genetics may play a role. Symptoms can include:

  • extreme hunger
  • increased thirst
  • unintentional weight loss
  • frequent urination
  • blurry vision
  • tiredness

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes typically stems from a combination of genetics and lifestyle factors. Being overweight or having obesity can heighten your risk. Additionally, family members may share genes that make them more likely to get type 2 diabetes and to be overweight.

Symptoms may include:

  • increased hunger
  • increased thirst
  • increased urination
  • blurry vision
  • tiredness
  • sores that are slow to heal

There are also gender-specific symptoms for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. For men, symptoms may include:

  • a decreased sex drive
  • erectile dysfunction
  • poor muscle strength

Women may experience:

  • urinary tract infections
  • yeast infections
  • dry, itchy skin

Home diabetes tests usually provide everything you need to test A1C, also called HbA1c. According to the American Diabetes Association, this metric shows your average blood glucose levels over the previous 2 to 3 months, rather than standard glucose testing that only provides a snapshot of that moment.

Because A1C tests provide an overall picture of your blood sugar levels, they’re a good indicator of how your body manages glucose.

At-home diabetes tests allow you to take a blood sample at home and mail it to a laboratory for analysis. Then, after a few days, you’ll receive your results through a phone app, email, or on a secure web platform.

If there are any atypical results, follow up with your primary care physician to discuss the next steps.

Anyone who wants to understand their risk of diabetes should take an at-home diabetes test. Because these kits only require blood from a finger prick, they’re safe for most people to use. You can then use the results to see if you need medical guidance.

That said, people living with diabetes should seek their doctor’s advice if they are considering using these tests to replace their routine monitoring or specially ordered tests.

We assessed reviews and compared features of at-home diabetes testing options. We used the following criteria to make our list:

  • Laboratory standards. Where possible, we selected companies that use Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified labs.
  • Cost. We selected at-home tests that span a range of budgets.
  • Privacy. We looked at data protection and privacy measures such as discreet packaging.
  • Speed of results. We selected companies offering speedy test results that inform customers how to access their data.
  • Medical support. We’ll indicate if a company offers support when results are out of range, such as phone or telehealth consultation.

Pricing

  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = $50–$70
  • $$$ = over $70

Best overall

LetsGetChecked Diabetes Test

Price: $$$

LetsGetChecked is our best overall choice because they provide nurse consultation services, and a physician will review your results.

You can opt for the Diabetes Test to find out your HbA1c or the combined Diabetes and Heart Test ($89) that also includes cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and HDL percentage of total cholesterol. You might consider this test as diabetes increases the risk of heart problems.

Once you receive your kit, you’ll need to activate it, connecting you with the kit code to ensure you receive the correct results. Then, you’ll take a finger-prick blood sample following the instructions and return it with the prepaid shipping label.

There’s round-the-clock support from a team of nurses throughout the testing process, who’ll call you if your results are out of range. Additionally, your results appear on the LetsGetChecked platform within 2 to 5 days.

Best for in-person testing

Labcorp Diabetes Risk (HbA1c) Test

Price: $

Labcorp has a network of CAP accredited and CLIA certified laboratories that process over 2.5 million samples weekly.

Although you can shop for and order tests online from home, you’ll need to visit a Labcorp location for blood sampling. The first step is to create an account and pay for your physician-ordered test. Labcorp then emails you a requisition number that you’ll take to the testing location along with a form of photo ID.

Labcorp publishes results through their online portal. If anything requires attention, a healthcare professional will contact you by phone or mail.

Best for fast results

DTI Laboratories A1c Test Kit

Price: $

DTI Laboratories specializes in diabetes testing, and their kits have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 1998.

The A1c Test Kit is the most accurate and comprehensive test of its kind. It uses a testing method called HPLC-IE (high performance lipid chromatography) that can detect atypical hemoglobin, which can interfere with test results. Other tests that use dried blood spots can be affected by temperature and humidity. But the DTI Laboratories A1c Test Kit is stable for 21 days without refrigeration.

You’ll typically receive your kit within 2 days of ordering. The kit comes with a secure ID, sample vial, and device for pricking your finger and gathering one drop of capillary blood.

Your results are available within 1 week of mailing them off, or you can opt for a 24-hour turnaround for an extra fee.

Best customer reviews

Everlywell HbA1c Test Kit

Price: $

Everlywell provides a wide range of home testing kits, including ones for HbA1c. Their website is clear and provides plenty of information about the testing process and results.

You’ll benefit from a discounted rate of $24.99 for testing if you decide to join the Everlywell membership program, which is an option for people interested in ongoing health monitoring.

The testing process is simple. You’ll receive your kit in around 5 to 10 business days and must register it using your unique ID. Then, you’ll take a finger-prick blood sample. Once it’s dry, return it to the laboratory using the prepaid shipping envelope. A board certified physician will read your results and deliver them to a secure online portal in around 5 business days.

If your results are out of range, a physician will contact you to discuss the next steps.

Best for follow-up care

myLAB Box At Home Diabetes Hemoglobin A1c Screening Test

Price: $$

Although myLAB Box specializes in discreet, at-home sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, they also provide A1C testing.

It’s straightforward to order and pay for a test online. When you receive the test, you’ll activate it on the MyLAB Box website, which complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Then, simply collect a finger-prick blood sample and return it on the same day using the prepaid shipping label provided. Your results are ready within 5 days.

Should your results be out of range, the price of the testing kit includes a telehealth consultation with a doctor.

Although the process differs by company, the typical steps are:

  1. Order and pay for your test online.
  2. Receive your test kit in the mail in a few days.
  3. Review the instructions.
  4. Register your unique ID number on the company website.
  5. Collect a finger-prick blood sample on the test strip or other collection device.
  6. Return your sample in the prepaid envelope that’s marked with your ID number.
  7. Wait up to 1 week for your results.
  8. Results appear on an online portal or via email.
  9. Follow up with your primary care physician if results are out of range.

Your results indicate your levels of glycated hemoglobin or HbA1c. When blood glucose binds with the hemoglobin in red blood cells, it forms A1C and is detectable in the blood for 2 to 3 months.

A1C levels increase in line with blood glucose, meaning high blood glucose equals high A1C.

According to the American Diabetes Association:

  • HbA1c levels under 5.7 percent are “normal.”
  • 5.7 percent to 6.5 percent means prediabetes.
  • 6.5 percent or higher indicates diabetes.

What is the HbA1c level?

The HbA1c level indicates your average blood sugar levels over the past 2 to 3 months.

The HbA1c or A1C test measures the amount of blood sugar or glucose that’s bound to your red blood cells. If your body can’t use glucose as it should, more of it sticks to the blood cells and builds up.

Doctors use the test results to diagnose and monitor prediabetes and diabetes. The results are reported as a percentage, and typical levels are less than 5.7 percent.

What kind of samples are required for an at-home diabetes test?

Most at-home diabetes tests require a finger-prick blood sample. It involves using a tiny scalpel called a lancet to prick the side of your finger. You’ll then collect the drop of blood on the test strip or sample collection board.

If you opt for a diabetes panel, you may also need to provide a urine sample.

What does an at-home diabetes test kit include?

Most of the tests we’ve reviewed come with instructions, a lancet to prick your finger, and a sample collection device. In addition, there’s typically a prepaid shipping label or envelope and an ID number used for registration on the company website and for marking your specimen.

Does Medicare cover at-home diabetes tests?

No, Medicare and insurance companies usually don’t cover at-home diabetes tests. However, there may be exceptions. Always contact your insurance company to double-check.

At-home diabetes tests are an affordable and efficient way of screening for diabetes. Using these tests can help you monitor how your body uses glucose and assess your risk of diabetes, especially if it’s common in your family.

Regular testing can help you catch problems before they become an issue. You can then follow up with your primary care doctor to discuss the best course of action.


Zia Sherrell is a health copywriter and digital health journalist with over a decade of experience covering diverse topics from public health to medical cannabis, nutrition, and biomedical science. Her mission is to empower and educate people by bringing health matters to life with engaging, evidence-based writing.

https://www.healthline.com/health/home-diabetes-test

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