Home laboratory for self-control, or what to buy in a geek kit

    In a recent publication, we touched on several important general topics, both general ones - self-monitoring and self-diagnosis at home, and private ones - urine analysis at home.

    It seems to us that it makes sense to continue the topic: today we will tell in more detail what generally exists (spoiler: a lot of things) for self-monitoring at home, how to use a test strip to find out about a heart attack, what gadgets you can (or need) to buy in a home medicine cabinet .

    We will try briefly, as usual:

    Let's start with a simple one - Test strips

    Perhaps this will not surprise anyone, but there are a huge number of them to detect a wide variety of diseases, including cardiovascular, oncological, ophthalmic, STDs, etc.

    All such strips have the appropriate medical certificates, have clinical accuracy and are often used by ambulance doctors for an emergency understanding of what happens to the patient at the time of the call. So the question of trust as such is not worth raising.

    Probably, it makes no sense to assemble the entire “collection” at home - for the price it will be comparable to a full examination. The cost of individual markers reaches several thousand rubles for 1-2 pcs. But taking the most “common” ones will not hurt.

    Among them, for example, are the same strips for general urine analysis. You can read our recent review on this topic .

    What is important to note in our opinion. Test strips are a diagnostic tool, but at home they should not turn into a guide to action. They can serve for the early detection of any problems, but for further diagnosis and conclusions, you still need to see a doctor!

    Try to list to start what really reveal all at home


    There are test strips for urine analysis. They can be both for general analysis, and to identify individual parameters: acidity, protein, glucose, etc. The vastness is huge. It seems to us that it makes sense to consider immediately a general analysis.


    Here we mean tests that can be done at home to detect various infections. There are, for example, tests to determine Helicobacter pylori, tests to detect various STDs from syphilis to HIV, tests for tuberculosis at home, hepatitis and other infectious diseases.

    Oncology tests

    There is a test for home-based testing that quickly identifies occult blood in the feces or more frequent ones, for example, to detect alpha-fetoprotein in the blood, which may be an indirect indicator of an ovarian tumor; prostate-specific antigen (prostate cancer); cancer-embryonic antigen (lung tumor, gastrointestinal tract).

    The cardiovascular system

    Such tests, in particular, can help determine a heart attack within 2-4 hours after the first symptoms. There are tests to determine cardiac troponin, to determine creatine kinase-MV, myoglobin.


    Ophthalmic test strips are divided into two types, as it were: one of them is non-diagnostic: it allows you to simply understand how correctly the lenses are installed. There are also test strips to detect corneal epithelial injuries (e.g. Rose Bengal) or to diagnose dry eye syndrome.

    We’ll say a few words separately that there are test strips for the determination of drugs and alcohol.

    Materials for research

    As samples for analysis are most often used:

    • Blood
    • Urine
    • Feces
    • Saliva
    • Nasal secret

    Which of the test strips you can (need) to have in your home medicine cabinet

    Test strips for general urine analysis . It is not critical which ones exactly are possible, and those about which we wrote .

    Tuberculosis test . The research material is blood from a finger. Allows you to identify antibodies at the initial stage with suspicious symptoms.

    Streptococcus Test. The study material is a throat swab. Streptococcus provokes not the best diseases, such as tonsillitis, scarlet fever, tonsillopharyngitis, in which urgent therapy is needed! In the case of a positive result - to the doctor, a negative result will help to avoid unnecessary antibiotics. This test is done a little intricately: you need to take a smear, then place the stick in a container with reagent, and then in the same container a control test strip.

    Test for influenza A and B virus . Although they say that viruses change year by year, which interferes with preventive measures in particular, you can still have something like this at home. As a sample of material - a smear from the nose.

    Helicobacter pylori. Nasty bacteria associated with gastritis and ulcers. Given how we sometimes eat, such a test at home is needed. The research material is blood from a finger.

    Hidden blood . Detection of a positive result may indicate tumors, but, of course, we must remember that the diagonal test strip does not make a diagnosis, but only reveals blood. It is possible that everything is bad, but not so much, say, there is a crack, hemorrhoids, etc. The material for the fence is feces.

    Cardio Strips . A troponin test will help identify an anxiety disorder, as well as separate similar symptoms that may occur with intercostal neuralgia. The material is blood from a finger.

    Hepatitis Test Strips. Such strips, probably, should not be kept at home constantly, but with certain symptoms you can use them. Indications may include yellowness of the skin, dark urine, joint pain, high fever.

    Test strips for genital infections . Here also - as needed. But this is a delicate way to make an initial conclusion.

    Blood sugar Sugar

    meter should be in every home! This is not a very impressive waste: together with test strips it will cost around three thousand. We will not advise anyone here, but from the latter, what you can pay attention to.

    Recently released the Bluetooth meter Contour Plus .

    It is interesting not so much for synchronization as for some features. Firstly, here is our favorite “traffic light”. That is, you can not particularly look at the numbers: I saw that it caught fire in green - which means normal.

    Secondly, the strips for this meter have a “second chance” function. Sometimes useful: within a minute, you can add blood to the same strip. You can measure blood on an empty stomach and a couple of hours after eating. A couple of days is enough for self-control.

    But this is a glucometer all the same. For self-control it is more logical to use CGM-systems. Since 2019, the Abbot Freestyle Libre has officially been delivered to Russia . What it is: it is a sensor and a scanner.

    The sensor is attached to the shoulder for two weeks, the scanner reads the data.

    Writes such a sensor continuously! The scanner displays the results at a specific moment, but the entire history is saved, and it can be viewed for a period: it is only important that the data does not disappear, at least once every 8 hours to apply the scanner (memory is limited). The cost of the kit will be cheaper than hauling from gray-haulers - 4490 + 4490. In two weeks everything will be perfectly clear and obvious.

    A couple of examples from a PC application

    Libre analyzes the level of glucose in the intercellular fluid, that is, with a slight delay, but this is not critical for self-monitoring. The main problem with Abbot is the purchase. To buy Libra, you must first personally come to an authorized service center, register there. Sell ​​by Russian post. In general, delivery is fast according to MSC / MO. It is unlikely to ask friends, because more than 3 in one hand for a period are not sold.

    By the way , the Abbot company has one (in any case, we have not seen others in the Russian Federation) unique advantage - they make test strips for determining ketones in the blood for glucometers. Ketones can also be found in urine, there are special strips, for example, Ketogluk, but the problem is that if ketones start to come out with urine, then there is already a decent amount of them in the blood! Abbot offers to catch them in the blood at an early stage.

    Their meter is called Freestyle Optium . For diabetics - relevant. Sold at 10 pcs / pack, the average cost of 1,500 rubles.

    What gadgets to buy for self-control

    This is our favorite topic, of course, so we ask you to be patient. Firstly, I would like not to get the impression that gadgets are an alternative to stripes or vice versa.

    Secondly, we make a reservation that in the category of “medical gadgets” there are diagnostic devices, the data from which can only be read by a specialist - that is, they are not very suitable for self-monitoring. For example, an ultrasound machine (hello, from 2014).

    Also, we will not talk about the numerous heart rate monitors that have long migrated to the category of sports devices, although heart rate monitoring can and should be followed with their help.


    Portable devices are a great many.

    You can take a look at our collection dedicated to this topic .

    On Habré the ECG-dongle device is well-known . This gadget does not have a registration certificate, but its accuracy corresponds to the accuracy of clinical ECG devices.

    The device exists in two forms:

    The difference in the number of electrodes. The latest version - full - allows you to make a full-fledged ECG at home. In the "truncated" version, rhythm and cardiac conduction disorders can be detected.

    It is proposed to use a paid service for decryption, however, basic data in automatic mode can also be obtained independently. It will be something like express diagnostics in several ways.

    You can read our review of a small version of an ECG flash drive .

    The registration certificate is owned by the CardiRU medical device . Here you also get an ECG with leads of the arms and legs with a brief transcript: a short conclusion with the main indicators comes to the device user as an SMS message one to two minutes after registering the study .


    Device for monitoring cardiac activity in the interval up to 5 minutes. The gadget, either by schedule or by compulsion, records the pulse at rest to provide the analyst with six parameters.

    It is attached to the chest, and in essence is something like an episodic heart rate monitor that detects the level of stress, stock of strength, speed of recovery. Inside the application, its own conventional traffic light scale.

    Overview on the Habr : A heart rate monitor for Putin, or what is a Ritmer.

    Tonometers There

    is probably a tonometer in every home, and rightly so. To control the readings in the dynamics, the built-in memory of the device may not be enough, so some people look closely at "smart tonometers".


    Tonometers Medisana are certified medical devices. They have smart blood pressure monitors, both on the shoulder and on the wrist. When choosing a tonometer, the user's age must be taken into account. It is usually not recommended to use tonometers on the wrist of older people.

    A brief overview of Medisana smart blood pressure monitors .

    Their application, of course, is a little intricate and not the most intuitive.

    From simple and inexpensive tonometers - you can consider the option of a tonometer on the shoulder of the Medisana MTS . For convenience, it is equipped with a color scale.

    Qardio Arm is another smart blood pressure monitor . Among the functions of the application, including sending data to the attending physician. Available synchronization with Apple Watch.

    In the final, let's say a few words about the Omron professional tonometer, which is designed more for clinics. There are several measurement modes, the ability to manually configure, the function of hiding data from the patient. This tonometer has passed clinical trials. It costs over 50 thousand rubles .

    According to the result :

    • A tonometer should be in every home
    • For older people, you need to buy a tonometer on the shoulder
    • It is logical to use digital blood pressure monitors with full automation - this will eliminate human error
    • If you need to store data for a long period, you can consider a "smart tonometer" that would work in tandem with the application

    Weight control

    Overweight or underweight can be a prerequisite for something unhealthy. Say, by dramatic weight loss, type 1 diabetes can be identified. Both obesity and endocrine diseases and heart diseases can be satellites of obesity, therefore, it is correct to control weight.

    Selection : The best smart scales according to Wareable.

    Recently, the so-called " analyzer scales " have gained popularity , based on the principle of bioimpedance, which, in addition to weight, allows you to determine the corridor of values ​​and other parameters, for example, fat level, muscle mass, etc. Most often, such data coincide with clinical bioimpedance so you can do this at home.

    Comparison of the scales of the house with the device MEDASS.

    Of course, with absolute accuracy, no household appliance works. Weights, for example, in the basis of the calculated parameters will still somehow have a weight (which they determine) and the height that you set. Bioimpedance only slightly clarifies these data for the full picture. But detailed studies are not always needed, not always done, not always available money. One such test is body x-ray.

    Comparison of DEXA and smart scales.

    In general, whether you really need analyzing scales, or in your individual case you can get by with the usual ones, is another question, but the scales get into the “first-aid kit”.

    Infrared thermometers

    In this category of devices there are also smart ones that synchronize with a smartphone, and ordinary ones. One way or another, modern digital thermometers have built-in memory for a certain number of measurements; therefore, is it necessary to store data in a smartphone additionally - is it necessary?

    The main complaint presented to such devices is that they are not very accurate, and the data do not coincide with the mercury thermometers. The question is debatable, we once answered it:

    A few words in defense of infrared thermometers.

    When used correctly, no problems with measurements and their accuracy arise. The beauty of such thermometers in the speed of measurement and its comfortable conduct, which can be carried out in an inconspicuous way. Therefore, infrared thermometers are of genuine interest to young parents.

    Of the highest quality and most comfortable models, we would single out the Medisana FTN .

    Of the simplest and most affordable models are B.Well .

    The review devoted to these thermometers is on Habré.

    Analysis of sleep

    This is the last thing we would like to say in this article. In our opinion, the fact is that in a dream a person controls himself poorly, but there are certain risks in a dream. For example, one of the most common "pitfalls" is sleep apnea.

    For all the time of work, out of relatively accurate, reliable devices that would give objective information, one came across (more precisely two - there was still Beddit, more precisely three - we were waiting for Nokia Sleep, but somehow they are now in no way) - RestOn Sleepace .

    In addition to the already familiar phases of deep / REM sleep, there is also tracking of respiration and pulse, which distinguishes it in its category of gadgets for sleep analysis. The device itself does not interfere with the sleeper, it does not need to be fastened to the arm - it is a flexible tape with electrodes integrated into it, which is placed under the sheet.

    Detailed review of the tracker RestOn on Habré.

    He has few analogues at the moment, the information is quite correct and allows you to assess the state of health during sleep by two important metrics: heart rate and respiration.

    A small summary

    Self-control is a whole culture, which is not very, frankly, common in our band. A person usually consults a doctor when it hurts and pricks, and rarely studies his health at the “before” stage.

    How important is it? - It seems to us that very. Another thing is that the cost of individual devices is quite high, and not everyone can really afford it, but, for example, the cost of heart rate monitors now is from 1,000 rubles, you can buy an ECG flash drive for 3,500, test strips from 100 rubles, within 2-3-4 thousand tonometer, etc.

    In other words, you can equip a "home laboratory" within 10 thousand rubles. Of course, most often such devices do not give any quantitative result: the numbers that can be seen are always what is called “within”.

    Roughly speaking, if you have a sugar level of 3.9 or 5.5 in the morning, then this is equally normal for you and should not be disturbing. Test strips - similarly. They operate on the principle of "detected-not detected", and each serious suspicion will have to be double-checked in a medical office.

    The only invaluable benefit is the ability to suspect something in advance, even before real painful symptoms, which will allow you to live better and longer!

    That's all for now,
    take care!

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