If you’ve already used our dried blood spot testing, you’ll know how easy it is. A few drops onto a blood collection card is all the blood that’s needed. And the best part is you don’t even need to leave home.
You’ll know how that compares to traditional whole blood testing if you’ve had blood taken at a pathology centre, where a needle is inserted into the vein in the crook of your elbow, or perhaps the back of your hand, and multiple tubes full of your blood are withdrawn for analysis.
Here at MyHealthTest, we’re already offering dried blood spot testing for diabetes (HbA1c) and thyroid (TSH) testing. And now we’re developing a new range of dried blood spot tests for steroid hormones, including progesterone, testosterone and cortisol.MyHealthTest is developing new dried blood spot tests for steroid hormones, including progesterone, testosterone and cortisol. #hormonetest Click To Tweet
So why’s this important? Well, because your hormones are vital to your health and wellbeing.
Hormones act as “chemical messengers” that are released into the bloodstream and travel around your body. They regulate complex processes like growth, metabolism and fertility, and many others. A hormone imbalance has a significant bearing on how you feel.Your hormone health affects a wide range of bodily functions and impacts how you feel. #hormoneimbalance Click To Tweet
New blood tests for hormone levels – including testosterone, cortisol, progesterone
You’re probably familiar with testosterone, the primary sex hormone in men, but did you know it’s also important in women? If you’re a woman, your levels of testosterone will be low, but if these levels become too high you may have difficulties becoming pregnant.
Cortisol is well known as the stress hormone, but its job doesn’t stop there. It’s also involved in controlling blood pressure, reducing inflammation and metabolising glucose.
For women, during your menstrual cycle, the hormone progesterone prepares the uterus for implantation of the embryo and helps to maintain pregnancy.
Lastly, one you may not be familiar with is 17-hydroxyprogesterone . Yes, big long name – but it’s just as important too. A 17-hydroxyprogesterone blood test can identify if you have a disorder of the adrenal glands which can also interfere with your ability to get pregnant. The adrenal glands are small organs which produce important hormones that regulate many vital processes in your body.
So, it’s not surprising that an imbalance in any of these hormones has the potential to affect a wide range of bodily functions, and how you feel.
That’s why we’ve partnered with a leading research institute to develop a new range of tests so you can track and monitor your hormone health.
Australian researchers developing new at-home steroid hormone tests
MyHealthTest has partnered with the ANZAC Research Institute, a major Australian biomedical research institute in Sydney, to develop these new tests.
Supported by a CRC-Project Government grant, the project is being undertaken by Lead Researcher, Rama Nimmagadda , who works in the Andrology and Steroid Laboratory at the ANZAC Research Institute.
The ANZAC Research team are developing an extraction technique which identifies and isolates the individual steroid hormone, such as testosterone or cortisol, in dried blood spots.Research staff at the ANZAC Research Institute are developing an extraction technique which identifies and isolates individual steroid hormones in the dried blood spot. #hormonetest Click To Tweet
It’s a unique technique, that’s being developed using advanced analytical instrumentation to accurately identify how much of the steroid hormone is present in the blood. As only small amounts of blood are typically used in a dried blood spot sample, the tests are designed to be highly sensitive as well as specific.
The team believes it will take about two years to create the tests. But in the future, it might be possible to use the same technique for other tests and procedures which have a similar chemistry.
Dr Nimmagadda enjoys the work:
‘I love doing it,’ he says. ‘I’m very motivated when I do something novel like this which contributes to society.’
He believes the new tests will benefit patients, clinicians and laboratories. He says dried blood spot testing has the potential to save people’s time and energy, allowing individuals to take their own samples anywhere in Australia, including remote areas where there is limited or no access to traditional pathology centres.
History becomes our future
Dried blood spot testing was first introduced in 1963 and is now routinely used in heel-prick sampling and testing of newborn infants.
While some tests for adults are available in the US and Europe, MyHealthTest is the first accredited lab in Australia to offer at-home blood testing using this technique. This enables individuals to directly monitor their own health.
The collaborative project with the ANZAC Research Institute means MyHealthTest can potentially offer a wider range of at-home blood tests to individuals at lower costs.
In the future, pathology testing will become easier and more accessible, both financially and physically, to individuals anywhere in the country. The tests that we are developing give you the power to understand what’s going on in your body and provide the jumping-off point to take control of your health. It really is the way of the future.
Steroid hormone tests are expected to be available in Australia by early 2021.