5 Important Blood Tests to Keep Your Health In-check
Health care begins with health awareness, and one of the best health care practices is to get a routine blood test. Getting yourself regularly tested not only helps prevent serious illnesses but also allows you to make well-informed and timely decisions for your health.
Blood & Blood Test
Blood, like an enlightened monk, has answers to all your health puzzles. Blood sustains life and does the tedious job of carrying oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, nourishing each cell on the go. Majorly composed of red blood cells, white blood cells, blood platelets, and plasma, its examination helps to map the health status of an individual and indicates the need for specialized tests. Apart from sustaining life, blood provides the body with immunity and ensures all-in-all well-being. Hence, like a devotee, you must knock on the door of a diagnostician to know and act for your troublous body.
Why take a blood test?
A blood test can help to detect biomarkers for various health conditions like anemia, cardiovascular diseases, tuberculosis, hepatitis, kidney diseases, and even cancer.
When to take a test?
Generally, a routine blood test once a year is recommended. This frequency may vary depending on your health condition and your doctor’s prescription. Any abnormalities in the test can encourage you to make a change in your lifestyle. There are over hundreds of blood tests and five common and essential ones are described right below.
Five essential Blood Tests to track your health are:
- Complete Blood Count (CBC): CBC gives you the complete profile of your blood. It measures the number of red blood cells; the average size of RBCs (mean corpuscular volume); the size variation in the red blood cells; the amount of hemoglobin (mean corpuscular hemoglobin); hemoglobin concentration in RBCs (mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration); and hematocrit value, among others. It gives information about the levels of vitamins and minerals, amount of hemoglobin, and white blood cells; and conditions like thalassemia, sickle cell anemia, anemia, cancer, and infections among others.
- Liver Panel (Live Function Test): A liver test helps to detect the protein and enzyme levels in the liver. The enzymes in the liver function to convert proteins to energy. Some conditions like nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, dark urine, and tiredness are attributed to an unwell liver. The liver test measures the levels of enzymes like alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, and alkaline phosphatase; proteins like albumin; and bilirubin pigment. Any abnormal change in these enzymes and protein levels may indicate conditions like hepatitis, jaundice, fatty liver, or cirrhosis. The test may also detect the effects of tuberculosis and other antibiotic treatments.
- Lipid Panel: A lipid profile or lipid panel is used to measure the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in your body. Lipids are various fats, wax, cholesterol, and oils in the body, and form the basic structure and function of your cells. The lipid profile determines the level of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL/ good cholesterol), low-density lipoprotein (LDL/ bad cholesterol), and triglycerides. Lipid profiling can help you determine cholesterol levels, risk of cardiovascular disease, and liver disease.
- Renal or Kidney Function Panel: This test helps in the evaluation of kidney function. It measures the level of nitrogen in your blood known as Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN); glomerular filtration rate — the waste-filtration efficiency of the kidney; levels of minerals like calcium and phosphorous; proteins like albumin serum; and levels of electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride among others. Any abnormal levels in these tests may be an indication of kidney disease.
- Blood Glucose Level or Blood Sugar Test: Type1 diabetes is inherited and occurs when your immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells. It requires regular insulin intake. Type2 diabetes is caused due to lifestyle factors. In this condition, the body doesn’t respond to insulin resulting in sugar build-up in the blood. A blood sugar test is used for screening the levels of sugar in the blood to detect the presence of diabetes. The test measures for type1, type 2, gestational, and pre-diabetes. A level higher than 99 mg/dL may suggest diabetes.
These tests are paramount in determining various diseases, especially during their early stage. A routine healthcare diagnosis can essentially serve in enhancing the quality of your life.