Blood tests are a comprehensive way to get a look at your health. Blood test labs offer numerous tests that analyze tons of aspects of your well-being. Because so many conditions can be found through blood tests, it is recommended that you get them done about once a year. More than once a year is wise if you have a history of health problems. What follows in this article are some blood tests that labs can offer and what they mean for your health.
Complete Blood Count
A complete blood count test is done to check the levels of your white blood cells, red blood cells, platelets, hemoglobin, and hematocrit. Depending on where your numbers are, this test can detect infection, iron deficiency, bone marrow issues, tissue inflammation, heart conditions, and even some types of cancers.
Metabolic panels evaluate your body's fluid balance by checking your electrolyte levels. A basic metabolic panel (BMP) will also look at the amount of calcium, carbon dioxide, chloride, sugar (glucose), potassium, and sodium in your blood.
There is also a more thorough test called a complete metabolic panel (CMP). In addition to the things covered in the BMP, it will also examine your albumin, total protein, alkaline phosphatase, aminotransferases, and bilirubin.
Metabolic tests keep an eye on your kidney and liver health, blood pressure, and signs of diabetes.
Cholesterol tests measure the cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood.
There are two types of cholesterol that this test will analyze: your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. HDL is the good cholesterol that clears away the problematic LDL that builds up in your arteries.
Triglycerides are a type of fat that presents in your blood. Elevated triglycerides increase your likelihood of having heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
A nutrition test will tell you if you're getting all the necessary vitamins. These tests will look at iron, calcium, vitamin B, vitamin D, zinc, protein, and magnesium levels. If you are deficient in any of these nutrients, you will be advised to take supplements or add them to your diet in other ways.
Enzymes are proteins that can help to break down food, clot blood, and build muscle. This test will evaluate the enzyme levels in your heart, lungs, and brain to determine if these organs are functioning properly.
Sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and syphilis can all be tested with an STD panel. Herpes is not generally included in basic STD tests and needs to be asked for explicitly. Results are more accurate if it has been a while since you contracted the infection.
Blood testing is an excellent way to stay on top of your health. If you talk with your doctor about getting the labs ordered before your yearly physical, you can then discuss the results as part of your yearly checkup. Contact your doctor to get a recommendation on a blood test lab that offers these services, and book an appointment to remain on top of your health.