preparing for a blood test

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What Are the Most Important Blood Tests You Should Have?

Your blood can tell a doctor so much about your health. Depending on your age, gender, symptoms and any health conditions you may have, your doctor will choose specific blood tests to help determine how best to care for you. Even though no two patients are the same, there are several blood tests that are common and important for everyone to get.

 

Complete blood count (CBC)

 

This one is one of the most common blood tests done. It’s low cost and gives doctors a lot of diagnostic information. It gives physicians and other healthcare professionals a quick overview of things like how well your immune system is working, how well oxygen is circulating throughout your body, and how well your body can stop a cut from bleeding.

 

Comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP)

 

A CMP gives doctors insight into how well things like your lungs, kidneys, and liver are working. Electrolytes like potassium, calcium, and sodium are measured. It also tests blood glucose, which is important when detecting early-stage metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and coronary artery disease. That makes it an excellent indicator of nutritional deficiencies, and it also works hand-in-hand with a CBC to help detect problems like dehydration.

 

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test

 

A healthy thyroid is key to good metabolism. Yet thyroid problems are often hard to diagnose because there is no single symptom or test that can determine the issue, but a TSH level is a good place to start. By measuring the level of TSH in your blood, your doctor can see whether the amount of this hormone your thyroid secretes is too high, too low, or just right. The level of TSH in your blood shows how well your thyroid is functioning and whether your metabolism is working too fast or too slow, causing symptoms like mood swings and abnormal heart rhythms.

 

Lipid panel

 

This group of tests requires fasting for eight to 12 hours and determines your risk of heart disease. It measures your total cholesterol, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, HDL ("good") cholesterol, and triglycerides.

 

Blood glucose test

 

This also requires fasting and measures the amount of a sugar — in this case glucose — that is stored in your body. It looks at how efficient your body is managing sugar. This test helps your doctor determine if you have diabetes.

 

Did you know your blood could reveal all that? If you’re interested in the human body, a healthcare career might be a good fit for you. Check out the Medical Assistant program or any of the other healthcare programs at Charter College today to learn more.