Home hemoglobin testers do exist!
Due to having Crohn's Disease, I've had to battle anemia for years (it makes absorbing iron more difficult). There are times when my hemoglobin level is down, and other times when it's in the normal range and doing just fine. I like to get it tested to be able to keep up on it, but that can be problematic.
Getting your iron/hemoglobin level tested at the lab can be costly. Even buying the tests at Jason Health (the most affordable place I've found), it's $23 per test. Plus, it takes time going to get the test done, you don't get the results back until the next day, and they take a whole tube of blood for the test. If you are worried about anemia it's not good to keep losing a whole tube of blood.
A couple of months ago, I was saying that I wish there was an easier way to test my hemoglobin a regular basis. My teenage daughter piped up and asked if they make a machine like the ones that diabetics use. After all, they can quickly take a glucose test, get immediate results, and each time they do it they only lose a drop of blood. One drop! I loved the idea, but I didn't think such devices existed for testing hemoglobin at home. So I went searching for them, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn they do exist!
There are several kinds of home hemoglobin monitors. I found a range of that from around $70 for the whole hemoglobin monitoring kit to around $170 for one. I decided to keep to the lower end, spending $70 on the kit. I purchased the one in the picture above, called the Accu-Answer i-Saw. The home monitoring kit not only checks hemoglobin levels, but you can also use it to check uric acid, glucose, and total cholesterol. The kit I purchased came with everything I needed to get started, including lancets, test strips, etc.
Well, I have been using it for a couple of months now and I have to say that I love it! This little device is wonderful. It is easy to use and within seconds I know what my hemoglobin level is. You can purchase test strips and lancets when you run out of the ones that come with the kit, and they are not expensive. Plus, this little machine tells me what my hemoglobin level is by taking one drop of blood. One drop! Not a whole tube every time. It's fantastic.
I purchased my home hemoglobin monitoring kit on eBay for $62, but you can find a variety of hemoglobin meter kits on Amazon, too. It just depends on how much you want to spend and which one you feel will suit you best. I love the one that I purchased, but my guess is that the others work in the same way and are just as good or are better.
You are probably wondering if they are accurate. Well, I had hoped they were, but they have not been spot on. It's very disappointing. I've had my blood drawn three times at the lab since getting this machine. I used this tester the right before going to the lab so that I could compare results. Each time the lab results are about two points lower than the home meter shows. Now I use the home meter, but I subtract two points off what it shows. That's the only way I feel I'm getting a fairly accurate picture. I am still happy that I have it, despite it not being completely accurate compared to lab draws. I know that if I subtract two points that I'm getting a good picture of where my hemoglobin level is at, and it only took me one drop of blood to get that information, rather than a whole tube of blood. Plus, it shows me if my level is going up or down. I will test it once a week and I can see how it's doing. I find it to be a helpful tool for me to monitor my hemoglobin level from home. If you purchase your own, I encourage you to keep track and get one or two blood draws to be able do your own comparison. Test it before going for your lab blood draw, so you can compare the results from the home machine to the lab results.
Two thumbs up for home hemoglobin meters and tests! I am so thrilled that my daughter mentioned looking for one and that they did exist. Many vegetarians and vegans wonder about their iron levels, and if they want to test regularly or test those in their family, this may be the most affordable route to take.