Regular blood testing is important in order to keep track of your health and well-being. It is one way of determining if there were changes in your body. If these changes are positive, you will know that there’s nothing to worry about. However, when changes seem to affect the body in a negative way, you will have accurate information and will be able to make informed decisions. Thanks to technology, blood testing does not have to be difficult as there are companies like Health Testing Centers that make it easier and more convenient for patients to schedule their tests and receive results through online services.
These blood tests below need to be done at least once a year, but depending on the recommendation of your healthcare provider, you may have to do some of these more than once:
1. Complete blood count or CBC.
The CBC test is the most common blood test being performed. It checks your major cells such as platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells. This screen is used to determine disorders and the overall nutritional health of a person.
The CBC can help diagnose certain medical conditions such as bone marrow issues, infections, nutritional deficiencies, and iron deficiency to name some. Depending on the results of your test, your healthcare provider may ask you to do another test or a follow-up test in order to come up with a diagnosis.
2. Basic metabolic panel.
The basic metabolic panel checks your glucose, creatinine, potassium, calcium, sodium, carbon dioxide, chloride, and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) to determine your fluid balance, sugar level, electrolytes, and the health of your kidneys.The results will tell your healthcare provider if you have diabetes, kidney issues, hormonal imbalances, and they can also determine if the medication you are taking regularly, such as medicine for your blood pressure, has side effects.
You may need to do some fasting before the basic metabolic panel blood test. Your doctor may ask you to fast for at least eight hours.
3. Complete metabolic panel.
The comprehensive metabolic panel is comprised of all tests in the basic metabolic panel and an additional six other types of tests. These tests are for your albumin, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), bilirubin, total protein, and aspartate aminotransferase (AST).
When your results show high levels in these tests, it could mean many different things. A high level of ALP could mean a patient has hepatitis, cirrhosis, inflammation of the gallbladder, or bile duct blockage. When the ALT is high, it could also mean cirrhosis, hepatitis, liver damage or cancer. A high AST could indicate cirrhosis, mononucleosis, hepatitis, a heart condition, or (mono) pancreatitis. A high bilirubin level could also indicate bile duct blockage, adverse reactions to medication, Gilbert’s syndrome, or hepatitis. This test should be done yearly and have a follow-up should your doctor advise it.
4. Lipid panel.
The lipid panel test measures your cholesterol level, high-density lipoprotein level (HDL), low-density lipoprotein level, (LDL), and triglycerides. These tests are used to determine cardiovascular problems, especially for older people. The HDL is also called the good cholesterol so if it is high, there is nothing to worry about. The LDL is your bad cholesterol and the level should be low. When your LDL is high, doctors usually prescribe medicine to help lower its level. This means that you should also change your diet because high levels of LDL can cause artery blockage, which increases the risk of heart disease.
5. Thyroid test.
A thyroid test will indicate if there is a problem with your thyroid function. The test will show how your thyroid reacts to hormones like triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and T3 resin uptake (RU). Thyroid issues are usually common in older people, especially women. When a person shows symptoms of thyroid problems, the first thing you do is test the level of your TSH. It will reveal if your body has enough thyroid hormones.
Your thyroid, which is found in your neck, helps regulate a lot of things such as your metabolism, energy level, and your mood. When the levels are not normal, you will experience fatigue and cognitive difficulties, and it could indicate several issues. You could be low in protein, there could be a thyroid growth disorder, or there are abnormal levels of estrogen or testosterone.
These blood tests are usually done in a laboratory and do not take long. However, the results could take a few hours depending on how fast they work in the laboratory and the number of requests pending.
Blood tests are important so you can keep track of your overall health. You may not find it necessary when you were younger, but as you age and depending on your lifestyle, your body may not function as well as when you were young. It is always better to learn early if you are ill than at a later stage.