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10 Essential Blood Tests You Should Take Every Year

This article is medically approved by Dr. Edward Salko

When we are healthy, we feel great. Unfortunately, the number of illnesses being reported the world over is increasing at an alarming rate. While some are not serious, others can be, especially if not diagnosed at an early stage.

Regular blood tests are vital to keep track of our overall health. By helping doctors pinpoint the exact cause of the symptoms, blood tests are used to identify and address many health concerns before they develop into something severe.

From cardiovascular disease and cancer to diabetes and other chronic ailments that plague our modern society, blood tests get to the root cause of several illnesses, regardless of whether or not we show any symptoms.

For those of us who are healthy, annual blood tests help us stay on top of our game by optimizing the overall quality of life. They give us answers to how we can improve our energy levels, mood, cognitive function, and a range of other factors. So regardless of how fit you feel, it is critical to get tested at regular intervals.

At Personalabs, with over 2,300 partner patient service centers all over the US, we make blood tests accessible, convenient, and affordable. With a quick turnaround time on the results, we ensure that our customers are able to seek medical advice and treatment as soon as possible.

In this guide, we’re about to take a look at the most important blood tests adults should consider every year. In addition to giving you an insight into the changes your body goes through, they also guide you on medical intervention if the need arises, which will put you on the road to recovery and a happier life.

C-Reactive Protein

C-reactive protein (CRP) is produced by the liver and carried into the bloodstream in response to inflammation. While inflammation is your body’s mechanism of safeguarding the tissue in case of an injury or infection, it can also result from certain autoimmune disorders and chronic ailments.

Typically, our blood has low levels of C-reactive protein. Higher levels might be indicative of a disorder, an infection, or even chronic stress. People who have diabetes, periodontal (gum) disease, high blood pressure, and high-stress levels tend to have higher-than-normal CRP levels. This is also observed in smokers and those who don’t exercise.

If both your CRP and cholesterol levels are high, your risk of developing cardiovascular disease increases by as much as nine times. That said, there are various measures one can take to bring their CRP levels within optimal limits.

Complete Blood Count  

Complete Blood Count (CBC) is a comprehensive blood test that provides your doctor with diagnostic information about your overall health.

By measuring the quantity, quality, type, concentration, and percentage of white and red blood cells and platelets, this test identifies anemia, inflammation, infections, an imbalance in diet, and several other abnormalities.

Irregular levels of various blood components tested may be indicative of tissue inflammation, deficiencies in vitamin B-12, B-6, or iron, cardiovascular disease, bone marrow problems, cancer, and infections.

DHEA Sulfate

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a natural hormone manufactured by the adrenal gland. In turn, DHEA produces other hormones like estrogen and testosterone. While the body’s DHEA levels are at their highest in our 20s, as we age, the concentrations diminish to about 20% to 30% of their peak in our 70s and 80s.

Higher DHEA levels in women and men may result from a range of illnesses, such as abnormal genital development and cancer in the adrenalin gland. Women with higher levels of this hormone might suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome, which increases the risk of infertility, diabetes, endometrial cancer, depression, sleep apnea, obesity, and other ailments.

On the flip side, kidney disease, AIDS, and type 2 diabetes can cause lower DHEA levels in men. This is why both men and women need to undergo a DHEA sulfate blood test. Although the examination isn’t meant to diagnose a specific condition, your doctor can use the information to determine if further testing is required.

Hemoglobin A1c

While a blood glucose test estimates your current glucose, a Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test is an indicator of long-term glucose levels. Recommended by the American Diabetes Association to diagnose diabetes, this assessment gives you the average of your blood sugar levels over the past 3 months.

People who are healthy should have their HbA1c levels checked at least once a year, while diabetics generally undergo the evaluation up to four times per annum. Higher HbA1c levels can help determine if you are predisposed to diabetes.

In addition, the Hemoglobin A1c test calculates the risk of developing heart disease irrespective of whether the individual is predisposed to the disorder. So it’s imperative to undergo this test to ensure your HbA1c levels are maintained within an optimal range.

Lipid Panel

Since a lipid panel test estimates your cholesterol and triglyceride, it ascertains a person’s susceptibility to heart disease. High-density lipoprotein (HDL), or good cholesterol, eliminates toxic substances from your blood by transporting them to the liver, where they are reprocessed or reduced.

On the other hand, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, builds up to form plaque, which clogs up the arteries and leads to strokes and heart attacks. As with LDL, more triglycerides in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease.

While your HDL levels should be high, your LDL and triglyceride must remain low. For those at a higher risk of heart ailments, doctors usually recommend a more comprehensive lipid-screening test.

Homocysteine

Homocysteine is a common amino acid in the blood. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. When proteins break down, increased amounts of amino acids like homocysteine are found in the blood.

It is important to track your homocysteine level for several reasons. First, high levels generally signify a vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, or folic acid deficiency. Second, and more importantly, high homocysteine levels also increase the risk of dementia, stroke, insulin resistance, osteoporosis, cognitive dysfunction, depression, and heart attack.

The risk of the latter shoots up by 3 times with elevated homocysteine levels over a 5-year period. This is why it’s crucial to have your homocysteine checked regularly as advised by your physician.

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone

Thyroid hormones are responsible for controlling your metabolism rate. They also influence your cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity.

Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced by the pituitary gland and controls the levels of thyroid hormone secretion in the thyroid.

While a higher TSH could hint at an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), a lower level points to an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism). Both an overactive and underactive thyroid can cause problems with energy levels, mood, and weight.

Fibrinogen Activity

Fibrinogen is a blood plasma protein manufactured in the liver and is one among 13 coagulation factors that help in normal blood clotting. When the tissue becomes inflamed, fibrinogen levels rise. Both heart ailments and atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque increases inside the arteries, are inflammatory processes.

In other words, an increase in fibrinogen levels can diagnose various illnesses like strokes, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and glomerulonephritis, which is an inflammation of the kidney.

If you have high fibrinogen concentrations, adopting a regular fitness regime and a well-balanced diet are essential. Your doctor might also recommend supplements like vitamins A and C, folic acid, fish oil, and niacin acid to bring your fibrinogen within a normal range.

Testosterone, Free

Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays an important role in puberty and fertility. As we age, decreasing testosterone levels can adversely impact our health.

Testosterone (free) refers to the free form of the hormone. Normally, a little less than 2% of the hormone is found in its free state in the brain and nerve cells.

High levels of free testosterone in women are associated with hirsutism, a condition that leads to the growth of hair on the chest and face. On the other hand, lower quantities cause decreased libido and affect one’s overall wellbeing.

In men, free testosterone is used to calculate whether there’s enough bioactive testosterone to safeguard the body against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and abdominal obesity.

Estradiol

Estradiol is a type of estrogen hormone found in the blood. Higher in females than males, both sexes require optimal levels of the hormone for the normalcy of physiological functions.

While estradiol levels in females help in calculating menopausal status and sexual maturity, higher levels could signify endometrial or breast cancer. Lower estradiol in both men and women indicates a risk of bone fracture and osteoporosis. So it’s vital that both sexes have their estradiol levels determined regularly.

At Personalabs, our focus is rooted in providing our customers with convenient, accurate, and quick blood testing solutions.

Regardless of which test you need, you can simply order it online without having to consult with your doctor or find out about your insurance coverage beforehand. We deliver the results directly to you, and how you prefer to take the report forward is entirely at your discretion.

Blood tests provide your doctor with valuable insights into any health concerns you might have so that she/ he can put you on the road to recovery as soon as possible.

If you don’t have a personal physician, are unsure about which test/s you should take, or have questions about your results, you can consult one of our highly-experienced doctors through our telemedicine service.

So give us a call today or shop online and let us help you take control of your health, conveniently and fast.

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