Taking certain blood tests can give you a clear picture of your overall health. They can help your doctor identify what’s going right with your body, as well as what might be abnormal.
But what are these tests, what do they look for, and why are they so important? Here’s a look at some of the more common tests performed during routine blood work, and why they’re so significant.
Why Blood Tests Are Important To Your Overall Health
Doctors use blood tests to investigate potential health conditions. They’re also used to show whether or not your body is functioning as it should. In some cases, they may also provide a picture of how well medications you’re taking are doing their jobs.
A blood test can tell if you have anemia, high blood sugar levels, and much more. They can also tell if you may be at high risk for developing certain issues that may affect the cardiovascular system.
You don’t have to fear blood tests. Most of the time, you won’t have to do anything beforehand to prepare. There are some instances where you might have to refrain from eating a few hours before the test, but that’s usually about it. You might feel a little discomfort when the blood is drawn, but that will be temporary.1
Blood samples are sent to a lab, where tests are performed to analyze the blood. Your doctor will get the results of the lab tests and, if need be, they’ll come up with the best plan to address any potential issues.
Blood Tests That Check Cardiovascular Health: Cholesterol, Triglycerides, And More
Blood tests check for many different aspects of your health. Here are a few that doctors use to make sure your cardiovascular system is working properly.
The lipid panel test checks the amount of fatty substances in your blood. There are many forms of lipids, such as cholesterol and triglycerides. While fats are important to make sure our bodies have enough energy, they can also pose a risk to cardiovascular health. Over time, an accumulation of excessive amounts of fat in the arteries can lead to potentially life-threatening problems.2
The results from this test will help your doctor diagnose a potential problem, and help you take the steps necessary to prevent any possible serious conditions from getting worse.3
Cardiac Enzyme Test
This test is typically performed in order to determine whether or not someone has suffered cardiac muscle damage. There are many different types of cardiac enzyme tests. For example, one test measures the levels of an enzyme known as creatine kinase. If damage occurs to the heart muscle, levels of this enzyme will typically be high.4
Tests That Check For Proper Liver, Kidney, And Thyroid Function
Doctors use other types of blood tests to check whether your liver, kidney, and thyroid are working as they should. Here are just a few examples.
Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)
The CMP is, as the name states, comprehensive. It checks for a wide variety of substances in the blood. The results will give your doctor a good idea of how your body’s metabolism is working. They will also show whether or not you have a healthy balance of chemicals in your blood.5
The CMP actually helps doctors diagnose several types of health issues. As it pertains to the liver, the CMP checks for a protein known as albumin, which is produced by the organ. It also checks for several different liver enzymes as well as bilirubin. This is a waste product that comes out of the liver. If you have abnormal levels of any of these substances, that might indicate a liver issue.6
Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)
The BMP, much like the CMP, tells doctors a lot about the overall state of your health. For example, it shows the amount of calcium in the blood and also checks your blood sugar levels. It’s particularly effective in providing a picture of how healthy your kidneys are.7
The reason it’s so important where your kidneys are concerned is because it shows how much creatinine is in your blood. Much like the heart produces high levels of creatinine kinase when it’s damaged, high levels of the enzyme may also signify a kidney problem.8
This is another type of comprehensive test, focused on the thyroid. It checks the level of certain hormones in your blood. A thyroid panel can, for example, tell your doctor if you have a condition known as hyperthyroidism. This is where the thyroid works too hard, leading to issues such as sudden weight loss, insomnia and anxiety.9
The thyroid panel can also uncover hypothyroidism. This is where the thyroid doesn’t work hard enough. Hypothyroidism slows the body’s metabolism, resulting in problems such as fatigue, weight gain, and dry skin.10
Other Important Blood Tests That Can Detect Potential Health Issues
Many other blood tests are used to check for other problems. Here’s a quick look at a few of them.
Coagulation Factor Test
You have substances in your blood, known as coagulation factors, that help make sure your blood clots properly. These are proteins that work to control bleeding should you suffer an injury. There are actually several different kinds of coagulation factors. If just one is missing, or if it has some sort of defect, that could cause you to bleed excessively and can be very dangerous.11
C-Reactive Protein Test
The C-reactive protein CRP test checks your levels of CRP. High levels could indicate an infection or a problem with your immune system. They could also mean you’re suffering from some sort of infection.12
Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test
This test analyzes different components that make up your blood. These include platelets, red and white blood cells, and more. A CBC test checks for anemia and other conditions. Doctors also use it to keep tabs on blood disorders that were previously diagnosed.13
Blood Tests: An Important Diagnostic Tool
Hopefully, you never have to deal with any of these health issues. Going to your doctor regularly and getting your blood tested as recommended by your doctor can help you keep your health in tip-top shape. Talk to your doctor about whether or not it’s time for you to have your blood drawn for a few basic tests. You’ll be glad you did.
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