If you want to improve your health and longevity, diagnostic testing is one of the most important things that you can do. Annual physicals are one thing; annual blood tests are another. If you want to improve your current health and prevent disease, there are five blood tests that you should undergo every year.
1. CBC – Complete Blood Count
This fairly inexpensive test should be one of the first tests you get each year. This simple blood test will give your doctor vital information about your liver, kidneys, vascular and blood cell status. This useful test can screen you for infections, hematological abnormalities and anemia.
As part of your CBC, your physician should also order a chemistry panel. This panel will give your doctor information with regards to your cholesterol levels, blood glucose and the levels of minerals in your body like potassium, iron and calcium. Both of these tests, in combination, are an important step in discovering any causes for concern in their earliest stages.
Fibrinogen is a compound in your body that is an important contributor to the clotting of your blood. When the tissues in your body become inflamed, fibrinogen levels increase. High fibrinogen levels can indicate to your doctor that you may be at increased risk for heart attack or may be suffering with inflammatory disorders such as glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the kidneys, or rheumatoid arthritis. If your fibrinogen levels are elevated, your physician may suggest both behavioral changes and nutritional interventions.
In recently conducted studies, it was shown that those with highly elevated homocysteine levels were three times as likely as other healthy adults to experience a heart attack. Homocysteine levels that are elevated also increase the risk for bone fractures, age-related macular degeneration and, in men, gallstone formation. If your levels of homocysteine are found to be elevated, your doctor may suggest vitamin B supplements, the addition of folic acid to your diet or trimethylglycine.
4. TSH – Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
Because there are so many symptoms of hyper- and hypothyroidism that can be attributed to other diseases, a dysfunctional thyroid can be difficult to diagnose. This blood test is essential in ensuring that the thyroid gland is functioning properly. When it’s not, people can experience insomnia, muscle weakness, heart palpitations, nervousness, weight loss or gain, and a reduction in bone density. Thankfully, thyroid dysfunctions are fairly easy to treat with prescription medication and, with early diagnosis; patients can quickly find relief from their symptoms.
5. Hormone Levels
Both testosterone and estradiol are important in men and women. In women, low levels of these hormones can lead to decreased bone density, irritability and insomnia. In men, low levels of these hormones can increase the risk of fractures; have an effect on sexual function and a loss of muscle tone. By discovering low levels of these hormones, your doctor can begin a course of hormone replacement therapy that can alleviate your systems and help your body function at its best.
While it’s important to get an annual physical screening every year, it’s just as important to make sure that your internal chemistry is operating at its peak. By having these annual screenings conducted, you can be sure to maintain your health for as long as possible.
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