Annual Physical Exam Blood Tests

Ideally, everyone should get a raleigh annual physical examination once per year to check on their overall health.  Depending on the patient’s medical history and purpose for their physical exam, blood work is frequently included to gain a better understanding of and to help improve overall health.  While it is recommended to get blood work done at least once per year, patients experiencing unusual symptoms, wanting to optimize their health, or reduce the risk of disease or complications may want to get blood testing done more frequently.  In this article we will examine some of the most common blood tests that are recommended.

10 Important Blood Tests

Complete Blood Count:  A complete blood count (CBC) test measures the levels of the components of every major cell in the blood including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.  Critical components include hematocrit, hemoglobin, and red blood cell count.  Should the level of these components be abnormal, it may indicate nutritional deficiencies (vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and iron), infection, bone marrow issues, tissue inflammation, heart conditions, and cancer.  Based on the results, which can take 2-3 days to receive, follow-up tests could be ordered by your provider.

Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP):  Checks the levels of certain compounds in the blood such as calcium, electrolytes, glucose, potassium, sodium, carbon dioxide, creatinine, chloride, and blood area nitrogen.  Abnormal results could indicate diabetes, kidney disease, or hormone imbalances.  Results are generally received within 2-3 days.

Complete Metabolic Panel:  Includes all the BMP measurements in addition to proteins and substances related to liver function such as albumin, total protein, bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST).  Results are typically available within 24-72 hours.

Lipid Panel:  Checks two types of cholesterol:  high-density lipoprotein (HDL; “good” cholesterol) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL; “bad” cholesterol).  HDL is considered “good” since it removes damaging substances from the blood and aids the liver in breaking them down into waste.  LDL is referred to as “bad” because it can lead to plaque developing in the arteries which can increase the risk for heart disease. As Heritage takes an Integrative/Functional Medicine approach to your health, we may want to obtain a Cardio IQ comprehensive cholesterol panel. This looks specifically and the total number and size of the cholesterol particles in your system. This is extremely useful in determining your true risk of a cardiovascular problem related to build up certain types of cholesterol particles.

Thyroid Panel:  Indicates how well the thyroid (a tiny gland in the neck that regulates bodily functions like mood, energy, and metabolism) is producing and reacting to specific hormones such as:

-Triidothyronine (T3): Regulates heart rate and body temperature

-T3 resin uptake (RU): Measures how the hormone thyroxin-binding globulin is binding

-Thyroxine (T4): Regulates metabolism and growth

-Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH): Regulates the hormone levels the thyroid releases

At Heritage we take a deeper approach to thyroid assessment and always recommend getting more than just a TSH in evaluation of your thyroid functioning.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases:  Often combined with urine samples or swaps of infected tissue, this test can diagnose many sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea. While blood test can be used to asses for HIV, and syphilis. Your medical provider will evaluate your risk and discuss testing with you.

Coagulation Panel:  Measures how well the blood clots and how long it takes to clot.  The fibrinogen activity and prothrombin time (PT) test are examples.  Results can be used to diagnose thrombosis, liver conditions, hemophilia, and acute myeloid leukemia. Typically needed if you are on a blood thinning medication.

DHEA-sulfate Serum:  Measures whether the dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) hormone from the adrenal glands is too high or low.  In men, low DHEA levels can be caused by kidney disease, AIDS, type 2 diabetes, and anorexia nervosa.  High levels in men or women can be caused by adrenal gland cancer or tumors, abnormal genital development, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, and polycystic ovary syndrome (in women).

C-reactive Protein (CRP):  CRP is produced by the liver when tissues in the body are inflamed.  High levels can indicate artery inflammation, infection, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), lupus, and cancer.

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