Blood is the central, most vital component of the human body, but that wasn’t always the belief. Ancient Greeks were under the assumption that humans had four humors in careful equilibrium. Blood was just one, with yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm being the other three.
These days, we are able to do a lot with one’s blood. We can transfuse it, separate it into platelets, examine it for cancers, and much more. We can even learn a lot, in fact, through routine blood work.
If you go in for blood testing, what can you learn about your health? In this guide, we will discuss all the things that regular blood tests can suggest about your organism and well-being.
Routine Blood Work Can Check Your CBC (Complete Blood Count)
A complete blood count is the most common form of regular bloodwork. Think of this as an inventory of all the individual ingredients that make up your blood’s composition. They include the following:
- White blood cells
- Red blood cells
Identifying Healthy Balances
Believe it or not, there is a lot more that goes into your health than just the count of these individual items. For example, the average size of your individual red blood cells (an MCV test) is an important indicator. The CBC also examines the space each blood cell takes up, known as hematocrit.
Diseases and Disorders
Your blood is the easiest place to identify symptoms of diseases and disorders–including early warning signs. For example, many people require a blood test to discover that they are anemic. It can also identify clotting issues, immune system deficiencies, and indicators of inflammation or infection.
Often times a blood test can be life-saving. If your coagulation panel (how well your blood clots) reveals an issue with proteins, you may need to go on blood thinners. Then, you would need regular blood work to ensure you’re not at risk of having blood so thin your risk levels are exceptionally high.
It Can Check Blood Enzyme Levels
Blood enzymes are your body’s regulatory mechanism to control chemical reactions. Unfortunately, sometimes you can have abnormally high levels of enzymes, such as troponin. This can increase your likelihood of heart attacks.
In fact, troponin can be a warning sign that the heart is injured. It can be both a warning sign and a symptom of serious heart problems. Seizures, strokes, heart attacks, and pulmonary infarctions all increase your levels of troponin.
Performing blood work after one of these attacks is critical to monitoring your condition. If there are excessive amounts of troponin, it may be time for further treatment or a specific procedure.
It Can Perform a Lipoprotein Panel
Lipoproteins, if you’ve taken courses in Latin, are self-explanatory. They are made of both protein and fat and work as a vessel that carries your cholesterol through the bloodstream.
Cholesterol levels, as your Cheerios box may have informed you, need to be in careful balance. More importantly, though, you need the right amount of different cholesterol types.
Good and Bad Cholesterol
As many pop physicians have said over the years, you have “bad cholesterol” and “good cholesterol.” The “good cholesterol” is HDL, or high-density lipoproteins. The “bad cholesterol” is LDL, or low-density lipoproteins.
In addition to overall cholesterol levels, a lipoprotein panel identifies triglyceride levels.
Assessing Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease often begins with high levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of good cholesterol. Performing this regular blood work helps to determine your risk of heart disease–or monitor its progression. You can also get a Lipid Profile Test.
It Can Perform a Metabolic Panel
Your metabolism is what regulates your energy levels, digestion, and much more. It determines how quickly (and how efficiently) your body burns through caloric energy.
Have you ever donated plasma before? Plasma is this whitish/yellowish component of your blood that can be separated out. It is the repository for proteins, blood cells, and other vital components of your blood.
To perform a basic metabolic panel (also known as BMP) medical professionals will examine your blood plasma. This is where all the action happens, for lack of a better term.
You can learn a lot just by looking at the blood plasma. Calcium levels, electrolyte levels, glucose levels, it’s all here. A blood plasma test can even take a closer look at your kidneys via the excess waste that they produce.
It Can Examine Bone Marrow
Bone marrow is the spongy material inside your bones. Although your calcium-rich skeleton keeps it tucked away inside, healthy marrow is essential to your well-being. Your marrow produces its own blood cells, and its levels may indicate the effectiveness of cancer treatments.
Bone marrow extraction is far more involved than a typical blood test. Although you will probably be awake for it, you would likely have some form of sedative to relax you. In some cases, anesthesia may be required.
Typically, they will extract it from your ribs or your hip bone. The doctor will inject a needle, which will likely give you sharp pain in that region. After they aspirate and extract the marrow, they send it off for a biopsy and lab analysis.
Fortunately, despite being more intense than a blood test, you can go home after the procedure.
Get Your Regular Blood Tests
Routine blood work can reveal quite a bit about your overall health. It can identify risk levels for diseases, track the effectiveness of treatments, and much, much more. Most people will benefit from having a regular blood test alongside their yearly physical.
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