The 5 Tests You Need to Take to Figure Out What Is Happening Inside Your Body
Information about your health is so important, yet so hard to track down. If you don’t keep up with your own health data (through blood work and other tests), how can you know if you’re truly improving yourself?
This guide will walk you through the 5 tests that will help you understand exactly what’s happening inside your body — no matter what stage of life you’re in!
How Do You Know If Something Is Wrong With Your Health?
Do you have high cholesterol? Are you at risk for heart disease? Do you have diabetes? Can you reduce your chances of getting cancer by eating a certain way or taking certain supplements? There are lots of ways that we can figure out what is happening inside our bodies.
Doctors, for example, rely on blood tests. But there are other types of tests that we can do ourselves or at home — for an even more precise assessment of our health and wellness.
Here’s a quick rundown: Baseline Blood Assessments: These tests include what many people know as routine blood work — checking levels of creatinine, kidney function, and hemoglobin and counting red and white blood cells.
5 Blood Assessments To Rule Them All
- CBC (click to read: the ultimate CBC cheat sheet)
- Lipid & Cortisol (10 foods that lower your cholesterol)
- HS-CRP (What it is and why it critical)
- Cortisol (Why does it flucate during the day?)
- Thyroid (Are you struggling from an under or overactive Thyroid?)
The three tests your doctor should order (and when) will vary based on your age, gender, and medical history.
Most doctors will run a general test called a CBC (complete blood count) that checks white and red blood cell counts; it is a simple baseline measure of overall health.
In addition, consider checking hemoglobin and hematocrit levels to determine if you have anemia or dehydration; if you notice fatigue or are otherwise feeling weak, these can be signs that something is wrong. This type of test is usually called a comprehensive metabolic panel.
Finally, look into getting some basic biochemistry measures like cholesterol and triglyceride levels done; these numbers provide clues as to how well your body is metabolizing food. If you’re pre-diabetic or prediabetic, having regular testing may help you catch conditions early and take steps to reverse them before they develop further.
Blood test values change and are variable. Such as cortisol which fluctuates significantly throughout the day. Blood tests, such as some of those above, require significant lab processing and analysis that can take time to complete.
Traditionally, it has been expensive to test multiple times per year to see if a pattern or trend is existing.
However, Lab Me is the first to offer an at-home CBC blood test without going to the doctor for a prescription first.
Your doctor probably checks your cholesterol levels, which indicates whether you have too much fat and cholesterol in your blood. It can also signal issues with other conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
For example, someone with diabetes may have high cholesterol because of insulin resistance, explains Dr. Katz. In that case, he says, their LDL would be way up but their HDL (the good form of cholesterol) would be even higher.
Other potential warning signs include unexplained weight loss, swelling in your legs or abdomen or a family history of heart disease.
It’s also a good idea to regularly test your blood glucose and hemoglobin A1C levels. These numbers can indicate how well you’re managing your diabetes.
Your doctor may also recommend a fasting plasma glucose test, which reveals if you have diabetes and is particularly useful if you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
As part of your basic health evaluation, your doctor will most likely want regular cholesterol and lipid tests, too. There is no reason that healthy adults shouldn’t be tested regularly for these common markers.
Lab Me offers an affordable solution for looking at all your lipid and cholesterol markers here.
When you hear the word cholesterol, your first thought probably isn’t hs-CRP. But that should be because, when it comes to figuring out what is happening inside your body, knowing your hs-CRP levels is just as important as knowing your cholesterol numbers. As it turns out, high levels of hs-CRP have been linked with higher chances of experiencing a heart attack or stroke — even if other factors like cholesterol are in check. HS-CRP stands for high sensitivity C-reactive protein, and it can offer up some pretty valuable information about what is happening inside our bodies.
It may seem strange to call a test high sensitivity, but unlike traditional blood tests where doctors need enough samples to identify one molecule of CRP per milliliter of blood (giving them an average reading), lab technicians using a high sensitivity CRP test only need enough blood to detect one molecule per liter of blood (giving them much more precise measurements).
These highly sensitive tests can help physicians determine what level they should set as an acceptable marker (although many experts recommend shooting for 0.0 mg/dl). For example, studies have shown that people who started treatment at 4.0 mg/dl had a lower chance of survival than those whose levels started below 2.0 mg/dl.
So how do you know if your CRP levels are too high?
One simple way is to schedule a visit with your doctor so he or she can give you a baseline assessment and then take periodic readings over time. If you’re healthy, here’s what you want to see: Total Cholesterol: 180–199 mg/dl HDL: >40 mg/dl LDL: 100–129 mg/dl Triglycerides: 60–149 mg/dl hs-CRP: