6 Blood Tests to Get A Baseline on Your Health

todayNovember 3, 2021 43

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By Autumn McGowan
Web Content Contributor

Getting blood tests done might not be something that is on a college student’s radar, but it never hurts to get a jump start on health. Below I will outline six different blood tests that I believe are important as a general health check or baseline and their usefulness in assessing health in different ways.

I want to preface this by saying that I am not a doctor. I am simply sharing my suggestions, experiences, and what blood tests I have found to be beneficial.

1. Complete Blood Count with Differential and Platelets: This is probably one of the most common and most important tests. A CBC provides an overview of key markers, like red and white blood cells. This allows a doctor to diagnose anything from infection to (in my case) anemia. 

2. Comprehensive Metabolic Panel: A CMP will show your liver and kidney health and looks specifically at blood sugar and electrolytes (like calcium and sodium). All these factors allow a doctor to get a sense of how these systems are operating since the liver and kidneys are important for so many processes involving digestion, detoxification, and fluid balance.

3. Lipid Panel: A lipid panel offers a measure of your risk factors for coronary artery disease (among other vascular diseases). You’ll learn your blood cholesterol level total as well as high- and low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides. If you’re particularly concerned about heart disease, be sure to ask your physician about more advanced tests (like those looking at particle number and particle size).

4. HS-CRP(High Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein): The simple explanation is that this test provides a sense of the level of systemic inflammation in your body. The more complicated part is what to do with this information — inflammation can have a vast range of causes and implications, so be sure to reach out to a specialist if you’re concerned.

5. TSH: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, which comes from your pituitary gland, serves the critical purpose of stimulating your thyroid to excrete two hormones that are essential to proper metabolism in every tissue of your body. If your pituitary is not functioning probably, there can be a range of downstream issues.

6. Hemoglobin A1C: Given the rise of type 2 diabetes, we’re constantly hearing about the importance of blood sugar maintenance. Chronically high blood sugar can wreak havoc on every cell in your body. Testing your blood sugar (or, more accurately, “blood glucose”) gives you a point-in-time reading.

Measuring your A1C, on the other hand, gives you an average range of your blood sugar over the past 2-3 months. This offers a much more instructive data point since blood sugar can swing wildly based on your exercise, stress, and food intake on a given day.

Most of these tests will come back with results about where you fall compared to the normal, healthy range. That can give you a general sense as to what could be a problem area.

Make sure you talk to your doctor about your results, including any questions you may have. I personally bring a notepad everywhere I go, so I designated one especially for the results of my tests.

Featured Image by Autumn McGowan


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