Base’s at-home test kits are very accurate. The at-home test methodologies we use at Base are proven and trusted testing methods used throughout the medical community. For example, the finger-prick blood test was first invented in the 1980s as a safer alternative to full blood draws for newborns and used in a wide range of medical environments, including your at-home test kit.
As Dr. Khaleghi, the Chief Medical Officer at Base, explains, maybe an at-home test can’t “say whether your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) is 3.86 vs. 3.84, but it can absolutely give you an idea of whether your thyroid is functioning high or low.” The differences between at-home and lab center lab tests are minimal or insignificant for most people.
Why is there sometimes variation between my different sets of lab results?
The reason you may see a difference between your most recent lab results from a doctor’s visit and your Base results can depend on several factors. Ask yourself the following questions:
Did you collect the samples on the same day at the same time?
Collecting the samples on different days or different times can cause some fluctuations in your results. For example, testosterone levels are at their highest in the morning between 7:00am and 10:00am, so you may see differences in your results if you collected one sample in the AM and the other in the PM.
Did you eat or fast in the same way before collecting each sample?
What you ate (or didn’t eat) before your test can impact results. This goes for what you drink too. Studies have found that drinking caffeine or alcohol before a blood test can skew results. This is due to the nutrients from the food and drink entering your bloodstream. Common levels that can be affected by not fasting before a test include your cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels.
Did you follow instructions for collecting your at-home sample?
Quality of samples, especially with at-home testing, can cause slight variations in your results. For example, with a Dried Blood Spot card, changes such as having blood drops overlap, not properly storing your sample before mailing, or the size of your blood drop can affect results.
Did you experience any lifestyle changes in between your in-office and at-home lab test?
Lifestyle changes such as increased stress or a new exercise routine can cause variability in your results. Even exercising right before your test can alter results. High-intensity exercise before completing your test, especially while fasted, can impact levels. For example, blood glucose levels will rise during your workout, if strenuous, to help fuel your muscles.
Bottom line: Although you may see slight variations between your Base results and outside recent labs, your Base results are considered accurate and the decisions you’d make based on those results are valid.
If you still have questions or concerns about your results, email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to look into your results + address your questions in more detail.