Blood Tests: There are many blood tests available to keep you healthy. Some of them may seem scary, but they’re necessary for your health and longevity. If you don’t know what these tests entail or why they’re important, then this article is a great place to start! Here are the top nine blood tests that doctors recommend everyone gets done at least once in their lifetime:
1. Complete Blood Count (CBC)
The CBC measures the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in your bloodstream. It can indicate anemia, infections, and other conditions like leukemia or lymphoma. This is not considered a routine test, so you’ll have to ask for it specifically. A CBC usually requires fasting before the test; if you eat before the test, your blood sugar could be abnormally high and interfere with results.
2. Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP)
The CMP combines several tests that may be ordered individually or together. The panel includes:
–Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN): BUN is the end product of protein metabolism in your body. It’s considered to be a marker of renal function (kidneys).
–Blood Glucose: Blood glucose tests measure how much glucose is in the blood at any time. High blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, can cause kidney damage and increase your risk of developing diabetes.
–Creatinine: Creatinine is a product of muscle metabolism that’s usually filtered through the kidneys and excreted in the urine. This test can help check how well your kidneys are working.
–Calcium: Calcium is important for strong bones, healthy teeth, muscle contraction, and other body functions. It can also indicate problems with the parathyroid or thyroid gland.
Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance needed by the body to build cells and produce hormones. Too much cholesterol in the blood can clog arteries and lead to heart disease.
–Albumin: Albumin is a protein made by the liver and can check for liver disease.
–Globulin: Globulin is another protein made by the body and has different functions depending on where it’s found in the body. Too much globulin can also indicate liver problems.
–BUN/Creatinine Ratio: This test checks how well your kidneys filter the blood and can indicate kidney disease, liver problems, and dehydration.
3. Lipid Panel
This panel measures levels of total cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein), HDL (high-density lipoprotein), and triglycerides in your bloodstream. This is a routine test done by doctors to check for signs of cardiovascular disease. High levels of LDL and total cholesterol may increase your risk for developing heart disease, while high levels of HDL can decrease that risk. If you are unsure as to what is the reason for your discomfort then you should probably go for a full body profile test.
4. Fasting Insulin
This test measures insulin in the blood when you’re not eating (fasting). High insulin levels can indicate that you’re at risk for developing diabetes because your body doesn’t use insulin properly. This is a routine test to check for signs of metabolic syndrome (which increases your risk for heart disease and diabetes), cystic fibrosis, or various other conditions.
5. Renal Function Tests
These tests check how well your kidneys are working. They include:
–Creatinine Clearance: This test estimates the amount of creatinine that’s cleared from the blood by the kidneys each minute. It can help determine the severity of renal impairment and how healthy dialysis is working if needed.
–Urine Protein Creatinine Ratio: This test measures the amount of protein being excreted in your urine over a certain period and can help detect kidney disease.
6. Thyroid Tests
There are four main thyroid tests that doctors may order:
–TSH: TSH stands for thyrotropin, and it’s a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that controls the thyroid gland. TSH levels can indicate problems with the thyroid gland, such as an overactive or underactive thyroid.
–T3: T3 is a hormone produced by the thyroid gland that helps control heart rate, body temperature, and other body functions.
–T4: T4 is a hormone produced by the thyroid gland that helps control how the body uses energy.
–TPO Antibodies: TPO antibodies are proteins that attack the thyroid gland. They’re produced when the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, as in Hashimoto’s disease.
This blood test measures the percentage of red blood cells coated with a protein called hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). The higher your HbA1c level, the greater your risk of developing diabetes.
8. Iron Status
Iron status is determined by measuring the amount of iron in your blood. Low iron levels can indicate anemia, which is a condition that causes fatigue and other symptoms.
ESR stands for erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and it’s a measure of how quickly red blood cells settle to the bottom of a test tube. High levels of ESR can indicate inflammation in the body, such as arthritis, lupus, or an infection.
While each of these blood tests is important in its way, they’re only a few of the many tests that may be recommended to help you stay healthy. Talk to your doctor about which tests are right for you.
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