"I'm heading to a physical, and I want blood work done. Dr. Livingood, give me some guidance. What should I be looking for?"
Glad you asked!
Here's a laundry list of what to look for in your blood work:
1. A Complete Blood Panel Ok this one isn't uncommon but I wanted to be sure you don't stop here, this is the basic.
3. Fasting Insulin Levels - Going deeper than blood sugar and A1C levels will help give more understanding of insulin resistance and prevention of diabetes and heart disease.
4. Ferritin Levels. This is a powerful stroke risk predictor as it helps to measure the "weight" of your blood and how much iron it is carrying. 2
7. Hormone Numbers--TSH, T4, T3, all of your Free Thyroid Hormones, Progesterone, Testosterone, Estrogen--any of those that you can get measured will tell you more information about how your hormones are working for you or against you.
8. B Vitamins-- All B Vitamins including B12 and B6 will give insight on any actual deficiencies.
9. Complete Cholesterol Panels--Total cholesterol is not a very good predictor of an actual problem. The size and makeup of the cholesterol is what matters. Get the particle sizes measured as well.
10. Leptin Levels--Can give you insight on losing weight. High leptin levels correlate with leptin resistance which can lead to obesity, heart disease, infertility, and more.
I try to avoid invasive tests like colonoscopies and mammograms. Not that there is not a place for them but there are simple, less expensive ways to get good data for any risks.
1. Body Fat Percentage and/or BMI - A strong predictor and risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It's not a fun reality but it must be addressed.
2. Blood Pressure on Both Arms - Be sure to check it on both arms to see the difference and don't get nervous and create a false reading! Learn more here.
3. Fit Test - This is a fecal test that can identify if there's anything going on in the colon or the digestive system before a colonoscopy would be needed. It has a high accuracy, has a higher utilization rate compared to a colonoscopy and costs thousands less! 5
4. Thermography - A good alternative for mammograms that involves no radiation and a very strong early detection rate.
On your next physical take the graphic above to your doctor and dig a little deeper into your health. This will help you get to the cause of the issues and not just settle for general blood work.
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