Which at-home medical tests would be good to do on a regular basis for early detection of illnesses?

Many people have a regular physical where all sorts of tests are run to check your health and detect any potential issues. Things like blood pressure, blood sugar, hormone levels, etc. are checked to make sure they look good and to spot any potential health issues if they are out of bounds. But along those lines, are there similar tests that people can do at home on a regular basis as an even earlier way of detecting problems?

In the drug store, there are reasonably priced things like blood pressure monitors, blood sugar monitors, etc. which don’t need a prescription and could easily be performed on a regular basis. Would it be valuable for an otherwise healthy person to take their blood pressure, check their blood sugar, or other things at home? If so, how often would someone want to do these kinds of tests?

BP–2 or 3 (or more) times a day. Keep a log; doctors respond to trends in BP. [High BP is called “The silent killer.”]

If you have a family history of diabetes, checking your blood sugar level couldn’t hurt. Again, keep a log; trends get attention.

Check the color of your urine frequently. Pale yellow = good, dark yellow = dehydration, dark red = blood in urine = trouble.

Similarly, check your stools, particularly for blood.
There are other things you can do at home. [Qadgop will probably be along soon with more info than you can shake a stick at. Heed him.]

Forgot to add:

Brush your teeth. Gum disease is no joke.

I agree with blood pressure. You could get a thermometer and check your temperature regularly. I doubt that most other OTC tests would cost-effectively reveal any conditions that wouldn’t your doctor wouldn’t find. Just see your doctor regularly and when you feel sick.

I would recommend testing A1c rather than blood sugar. Blood sugar numbers are highly variable depending on what you’ve recently eaten. You would just generate a lot of meaningless noise and false alarms. Instead, you could run the A1c test every 90 days or so and learn pretty quickly if your blood glucose is getting out of control.

ETA: If you’re a lady who has a chance of getting pregnant, pregnancy tests might help you make informed behavioral and medical decisions at the earliest opportunity.

Men as well as women need to perform breast self exams monthly. While breast cancer in men is uncommon, the exam is absolutely free. How to Do a Male Breast Self Exam (MBSE)

Follow up checking the boys down below. Testicular self exam

Tired, A1c is a new term for me and some quick Googling convinces me you’re right-er than I; thanx. My wife just had her first bout with high blood sugar and the doctors were champing at the bit to label her “diabetic.” A later re-test showed the numbers had dropped back to normal-ish. Moral of the story: Lay off the Reese’s PB Cups [no joke: her numbers–after pounding down a few dozen over a month’s time–were lower 400s :eek:. She has since changed her ways and is back to +/- 100. Which reinforces your stance on A1c.] End of ramble.

Can BP be checked more occasionally than that? An otherwise healthy person might eventually get tired of checking so often and give up completely. Would a few checks a week do any good?

One thing I just remembered is that heart rate monitors are sometimes able to detect heart conditions. If they notice your resting heart rate is unusually elevated, it may be an early indication of a heart attack. The Apple Watch was recently in the news for something like that. Perhaps eventually that will be a more common feature.

There is very little routine self screening that has been proven to be helpful. Even breast self exam for women has come under great scrutiny because it results in so many false positive findings that get biopsied, and enough biopsies go awry that the harm/benefit ratio can be pretty variable. And there are even some studies that say clinical breast exam done by a practitioner (even a skilled one) can do more harm than good if not paired with mammography.

And testicular self exams are now discouraged officially. Per UpToDate:

I’d be hard pressed to think of a single other home self exam I’d advocate for a normal, low-risk patient population to perform.

How about signs of skin cancer? Changes in mole size, shape, etc. These can go unchecked for or missed during regular check-ups.

Well then. Ignorance fought. And thanks for the update.

The home health checks that REALLY work are unfortunately the boring ones that people wish would go away, and they’re somewhat subjective and easy to misinterpret or go overboard on.

Have you ever talked with someone about a mutual friend and agreed that the friend needs to pay more attention to some particular health issue? Like “He’s going to run into trouble soon if he doesn’t lose some weight” or “These controlling boyfriends are ruining her life”? It could be valuable to know what your friends really say about you - but it’s definitely not valuable for you to try to guess! Because maybe what they really say is “He’s way too anxious about his health, it’s going to drive him crazy, he needs to just chill”. Or some other surprise.

Again, screening low risk groups has not yet been proven to be beneficial. And that’s having a practitioner do a full body screening; self-screening hasn’t been studied much at all for effectiveness. Below, UpToDate summarizes current medical thinking: