Most people only send their blood to a lab in specific circumstances: maybe they're on a medication that requires blood testing, or they're already exhibiting symptoms of a disease that can be diagnosed with laboratory tests.
But the truth is, regular blood tests aren't just for people who are already sick -- these wellness tests also play a key role in preventing illness. Many of the most common and deadly chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, and heart disease, can be detected through lab test results before they become symptomatic. And if caught early enough, many of these diseases can be managed effectively or even reversed.
At , we feel strongly that preventive care and chronic disease control are at the heart of increasing one's Healthspan, improving overall health, and ensuring one's health and wellness for years to come. Where the traditional healthcare system may be geared toward acute care -- that is, when you're already sick -- the HealthspanMD approach is about anticipating and managing these issues before they become a risk to your life.
Here's some important information about lab wellness tests, what they entail, and why you should have them done more frequently than you think.
What Does a Wellness Blood Test Entail?
A wellness blood test typically involves taking a sample of your blood, then testing your blood components (including red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, cholesterol, and glucose levels) against established reference points. This will help identify any existing underlying conditions, provide an overall look at your health status, and even detect early signs of diseases you may be predisposed to.
Some of the markers we test for include:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC): A CBC blood test is used to measure the number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets present in your bloodstream. This can help detect anemia, infection, or other issues with your immune system.
- Cholesterol: Also known as a lipid panel, this test measures the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol) in your blood. High levels of LDL can be indicative of cardiovascular disease, while lower levels of HDL may indicate a risk of heart attack or stroke.
- Glucose levels: This test measures the amount of glucose in your blood, and is usually done to diagnose or monitor diabetes.
- Bilirubin: High levels of bilirubin can indicate liver disease or gallbladder problems.
- Triglycerides: High triglyceride levels can increase your risk for heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.
- Liver enzymes: Tests of liver function can be used to diagnose various liver conditions, such as hepatitis or cirrhosis.
- Kidney function markers: By testing for specific markers, doctors can diagnose and monitor various kidney diseases.
- Electrolytes: These tests help detect any imbalances in the body’s electrolytes, which can lead to dehydration or other health conditions.
- Vitamins: This test measures the levels of certain vitamins in your blood, which can be used to diagnose deficiencies and ensure you’re getting the daily nutrients you need.
Apart from these general markers, you may want to opt for additional tests to get a more comprehensive view of your health based on predisposition and lifestyle. For example, if you have a family history of thyroid issues, you may want to include a thyroid panel among the more common blood tests.
A medical professional can help you decide which tests are right for you, based on your specific needs and goals.
Why Should You Have Regular Wellness Blood Tests?
At HealthspanMD, our care approach focuses on helping you meet the ten most powerful health goals for reducing risk for (and sometimes reversing) disease, which we call the . Here's how having regular lab work can help you meet some of these goals:
Health Screening Detects Chronic Disease Early
Three of the most important tenets of the Healthspan-10 revolve around maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol, healthy levels of blood sugar/insulin, and normal blood pressure. Regular lab work is essential in detecting imbalances in all three -- and ultimately detecting disease -- as early as possible. Early detection often means better treatment outcomes and a reduced risk of complications. For instance, frequent lipid and glucose testing helps in the early detection of type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemia, which could cause cardiovascular disease.
Labs Can Help You Track Your Goals
Regular wellness blood tests can provide valuable insight into your overall health status. For instance, if you start a new workout routine or diet, having your blood tested can help you track and measure any improvements in your health indicators.
Wellness Tests Help Maintain Lifestyle Changes
Healthy body composition, healthy nutrition, and regular physical activity are also key to the Healthspan-10, but it's important that your Action Plan is really right for your individual needs. Lab tests can help you determine if the lifestyle changes you're making are actually effective. For example, if you're trying to lower your cholesterol levels, testing your cholesterol will give you an objective way to track how well the changes you’ve made are working.
Increase Your Healthspan Today
Our modern healthcare system is excellent for treating you when you're sick, but in order to detect and manage chronic disease and truly maintain overall health, a different approach is necessary. Regular wellness blood work is a great place to start, as it’s a noninvasive and cost-effective way to get an overall picture of your health.
Knowing what's going on in your body through frequent lab testing can help you make the necessary lifestyle changes for optimal health. At , we offer comprehensive wellness testing as part of your Healthspan Action Plan. Dr. Hurst and his team will work with you to determine which tests are right for you, and help you interpret the results so you can make informed decisions about your health.