Blood tests are one of the most common medical tests you can get. They tell you about your body’s functions and any conditions you might not even be aware of. Blood tests can diagnose diseases, monitor treatments, or simply check your overall health. Here’s what you should know about routine blood testing and which tests are most relevant.
Routine Blood Testing Can Tell You What’s Going On Inside
Blood tests are done to monitor your health and to look for any signs of disease in your body. They can also be used to check for nutritional deficiencies that may be affecting your health, such as low vitamin D levels. Blood tests are a common part of medical care because they are safe and produce highly relevant results quickly.
There are hundreds of different blood tests that you can get. Some are very specific to complicated and uncommon illnesses. In contrast, others are done routinely on seemingly healthy people to check for more common diseases like diabetes, heart, liver, and kidney disease, and nutritional deficiencies. We’ll go over some of the tests included in regular blood work.
A lipid profile measures the amount of total cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease, which can result from obesity, genetic factors, and excessive alcohol intake.
Cholesterol can be present in three different forms:
- Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad cholesterol”
- High-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good cholesterol”
- Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)
Higher LDL levels are associated with atherosclerosis and stroke, while HDL seems to be cardioprotective. A lipid profile will measure your total cholesterol level, each cholesterol type, and triglycerides (another type of fat in the bloodstream) and give you insight into your heart and liver health.
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
If you have any concerns about your metabolism, a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) is the first step to getting answers. This blood test includes measurements of the following:
- Blood sugar levels
- Kidney function
- Liver function
- Electrolytes, including potassium and sodium
A CMP can help diagnose diabetes, acute or chronic kidney failure, liver problems, and electrolyte deficiencies even before you have any symptoms.
Hormones are messengers that your body uses to communicate with itself. They play an important role in metabolism, fertility, temperature, energy, and overall health. When hormones are imbalanced, they can cause a range of symptoms, some of which are:
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
- Mood changes
- Low libido
If you have any of these symptoms, you might be interested in checking your hormone levels. Even if you feel completely fine, your hormone levels should be analyzed routinely. Doing so will allow you to catch any imbalances before they manifest. Hormone tests can pick up on problems with the thyroid gland, ovaries, pancreas, testes, and many more before more serious complications develop.
Blood tests can detect nutritional deficiencies by testing the levels of vitamins and minerals, including:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin K
This is good news if you’re concerned about your diet or want to ensure that you’re getting enough nutrients your body needs to function properly. For example:
- Vitamin D is necessary for bone health and muscle strength. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, it might lead to osteoporosis later in life. A blood test will show if your levels are low enough for treatment with supplements or sunlight exposure.
- Magnesium helps regulate dozens of cellular processes related to energy production throughout the body. A deficiency can result in fatigue and muscle cramping, to mention a few.
- Vitamin K is an important cofactor (meaning it helps in the process) of blood coagulation. A vitamin K deficiency can lead to excessive bleeding.
- Vitamin B12 and Iron help oxygen circulate through your bloodstream and reach different organs and tissues. A deficiency of these micronutrients can result in anemia, a condition in which the blood lacks healthy red blood cells.
If your results are abnormal, you must discuss them with your doctor to get the treatment that best suits your needs and individual characteristics.
Complete Blood Count
A Complete Blood Count (CBC) is a common blood test used to check for signs of infection, inflammation, and other problems. The CBC measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in your body. This information can help you identify any blood abnormalities that may be causing you trouble.
A low hemoglobin level—a measure of how much iron-rich oxygen-carrying hemoglobin is in your blood—can indicate anemia or other chronic health issues like liver disease or heart disease.
A high white cell count could mean that you have an infection or an autoimmune disorder such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis; it could also be a sign of leukemia or lymphoma.
If your results are abnormal, it is important to discuss them with your doctor, who will guide you through further tests and diagnostic procedures and reach the root cause of your health issues. This way, you can get on the path to the right treatment and prevent complications.
Blood Testing Can Tell You A Story About Your Health
Blood testing is a tool to understand your overall health and get an early diagnosis for various diseases. It is important to have regular blood tests to monitor your physiological changes and, if something’s not quite right, get early treatment before it becomes serious.
Blood tests can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of your ongoing treatments. Healthy people should get their blood tested at least yearly, while individuals with preexisting conditions should be looking to get tested with a minimum frequency of twice a year. Your doctor may suggest getting more frequent tests depending on your illnesses and their severity, so follow their instructions. Find a trusted lab, such as Private MD Labs, to order and get blood work near you (no doctor’s appointment needed) to start taking control of your health today.
Blood testing is a powerful tool to help you understand your overall health and get an early diagnosis for various diseases. Some of the most popular tests done routinely are CMP, CBC, lipid profile, hormone testing, and tests to evaluate nutritional deficiencies. These can give you some insight into your heart, liver, and kidney health, how well your hormones work, and if you are overdue for lifestyle changes. Even if you’re not feeling sick, get your blood tested at a trusted lab at least yearly, and speak to your doctor about any abnormal results. Your health is in your hands!
3 Key Takeaways
- Blood testing is the preferred test my medical experts to evaluate overall health and diagnose disease.
- Some of the most important tests you should look out for are a CMP, CBC, hormone testing, lipid profile, and nutritional deficiencies.
- A healthy person should get their blood tested at least twice a year (even if they’re feeling well), and individual with health conditions should get tested two to four times per year (or follow their doctor’s suggested testing frequency).